Confronting Uncertainty the Right Way

When we confront uncertainty in our lives, there are three ways we can face it. Which will you choose? 

"Acknowledge that a problem exists and . . . do something about it." --Bruce C. Hafen

Photo by Lucas Budimaier

At some point, we learn that not everything is in our control. We become aware that there is a gap between the real and the ideal. And with these realizations, uncertainty creeps into our lives. How do we deal with this uncertainty?

According to Elder Bruce C. Hafen in his August 1979 Ensign article,On Dealing with Uncertainty,” there are three distinct levels of dealing with uncertainty.

At level one, we ignore reality by refusing to see the problems that exist in our world. We cling to the ideal. Those at this level believe that “every new day is probably going to be the best day they ever had,” says Elder Hafen. Such extreme optimism is unrealistic and difficult to maintain.

At level two, we confront the harsh realities of mortality head-on. This level is an improvement from the first because we gain strength from recognizing ambiguity and imperfection. However, the danger with this level is that we may ignore the ideal completely, which leads to pessimism that can harden the heart.

Elder Hafen observes, “Neither the extreme optimist nor the extreme pessimist would ever be of much help in improving the human condition.”

At level three, both the ideal and real are recognized because “we not only view things with our eyes wide open, but with our hearts wide open as well.” We combine both optimism and realism to properly face any uncertainties that we might encounter.

Find out more about facing uncertainty with optimism and realism by reading “On Dealing with Uncertainty,” by Elder Bruce C. Hafen.

Source: Ensign

—Collin Mathias, Mormon Insights contributor

feature image by goran vucicevic

Find more insights 

Read “Love Is Not Blind: Some Thoughts for College Students on Faith and Ambiguity” for additional remarks from Elder Hafen, who was president of Ricks College at the time of this devotional.

If you are doubting your testimony because of uncertainty, take a look at “You’ve Always Had a Testimony,” in which Amy Davis explains Elder Kevin W. Pearson‘s advice on maintaining your faith.

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