Ever observed a new sprout in the earth? I’ve seen them only rarely since I have 4
plant killers children and a dog who remove seeds whenever we plant them. But when seeds do survive our family, what joy, after weeks of waiting, to see bright green emerge from the soil!
The seed’s probably even more excited than we are. Weeks it sat there in the cold, damp darkness. Alone. Wondering which way was up. Hoping it’s genetics would kick in and find a way through to light. Finally, almost suddenly, disorientation ends as the first leaf uncurls into sunshine.
“It’s always darkest just before the dawn.” – Thomas Fuller
The seed’s experience in that dark earth-womb so clearly reveals what we feel in our own experience of life’s quiet seasons of growth. The dark unknown, the disorientation, the loneliness, the hoping for some sense of purpose. It’s all so confusing! I, for one, hate being confused. I want to know what’s going on, and to have some sense of control.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’re facing this right now. Wondering which way is up, feeling alone in this under-ground season of growth. But there is hope in the confusion.
Confusion opens possibility.
As a former straight-A student and recovering perfectionist, I never thought I’d admit it, but disorientation is a gift. It takes us out of our small view of life and reminds us that this world is infinitely more complex than we recognize. In that complexity lies the seed of miraculous opportunity that’s “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
Confusion helps us stop and listen.
The disorientation of hidden-away growth times in life – those times when we feel unimportant, invisible, powerless – makes us stop and listen close. To our own dreams, needs, and longings. To what needs time to grow or heal inside. To the still, small voice of the One who knows you better than you know yourself.
Confusion makes space for creativity.
Confusion often pulls us back from over-involvement and the frantic pace of life, even in good things. In deeply confusing times for me, I have taken respite from even the best-loved activities to get my bearings again. Less structured time can open us to creativity and new ideas that needed a change of pace to develop.
Confusion builds strength.
It’s a well-known idea in the fitness/training world that to build muscle, you have to trick your muscles by varying the weight, repetitions, and order in which you train them. Without this kind of confusion, our muscles learn exercises – even whole workout routines – and benefit less and less. We adapt to routine. Confusion disrupts routine and allows for growth.
Are you willing to sit with your confusion the next time it comes? To just listen to what you need, what you’re learning, what could be? You may be surprised how much joy you find there.