I got blindsided recently. It left me frustrated, angry and confused. I suddenly felt like I was wandering in a dense forest in the fog trying to find my way through.
In addition to this blog, I write on a multi-author site called “Quora”. I’ve had some somewhat significant success with over 400,000 views in five months.
One post really trended with over 80,000 views. It was my most popular by far. I was feeling pretty good as writing can feel very lonely and unrewarding at times.
I thought. “Finally, I’ve hit on a post that really is connecting in a way I’ve rarely experienced.”
Suddenly, the editorial committee took it down because they said it didn’t properly disclose an affiliation.
I thought, “What the heck? I didn’t talk about any organizations.”
I reread it trying to determine where I ran afoul of their nebulous rule but couldn’t figure it out.
So I appealed the decision explaining how I’d be happy to disclose any affiliation I neglected if they told me what they wanted.
I heard nothing for ten days then received a standard notice my appeal was rejected with no further recourse.
I was ticked to say the least.
I’d spent a lot of time writing the post. Readers were responding positively. And now this committee arbitrarily shut it down.
My normal response would be to double down on my effort. Head down. Work harder and faster.
The only problem? Way too often I grow more agitated and that only compounds the problem.
Instead I calmed down and used a technique I’ve learned through a lot of trial and way too many errors. I started searching for the good.
I found a significant change.
My tension declined.
My less than honorable thoughts about the review committee diminished.
My mind cleared so I could logically begin planning what to do next.
And I began seeing some positives coming out of it.
I’d been working way too hard on it. I was spending too much time on something that may or may not produce long term significance. I began reevaluating my time commitment.
I realized I was tired. I needed to slow the frenetic pace.
I wanted to enjoy the journey along the way again.
So I stepped out of the squirrel cage and stopped writing for a couple of weeks to recharge and refocus.
The apostle Paul wrote, “God works all things together for good for those who love him and walk with him.”
So I’ve learned when blindsided to stop and search out the good God intends.
First, I take a break to reevaluate.
I mean if God truly does mean it all for good then this detour is a time to figure out the course correction he wants me to make.
Second, as part of this, I focus on the fact God does mean this for good.
He wants to do something new. And he’ll work out the details.
Now, I may not like it and usually at first I don’t. But I try to hold on to the above promise and focus on that in the midst of the confusion.
I also think back to previous times when I was blindsided and how God worked those out for good. That gives me confidence he’ll do it again.
Then, I’m ready to ask for God’s help and direction.
I’m calmed down. I’m expecting his answers. So it’s only natural to ask.
Jesus said, “Ask and you’ll receive. Seek and you’ll find.”
Sometimes I may ask God to give me what I originally wanted. But often I find myself praying more for God’s guidance in the new directions.
I ask him to show me the good he intends to work. I ask him to guide me in the new paths he’s prepared. I ask him to clear my foggy mind so I can see clearly.
And I ask him to work all of this mess out for good as he promised without trying to dictate to him how to do it.
By now, I usually realize I don’t have a clue and I really need him to guide me.
I’m ready to search out the good he wants to accomplish.
I take time to reflect, consider, think and search out the new direction God is working.
Personally, I write out lots of questions and answers. It helps me gain clarity in my thinking.
This can be the most challenging yet the most exciting part of the whole process. I’m exploring new possibilities that I wouldn’t have even considered before.
Then finally as those answers become clearer I try to accept them and move forward.
Deep inside I still may wish for what I originally wanted. But at some point I need to walk into the new good God is working to see it unfold.
There simply is no reason to stay stuck in the past that I can’t change.
So does this become easy? Not for me.
However, it’s become more natural. And it’s liberating and keeps me moving forward.
Oh, and what good have I seen come out of being blindsided?
I’m not positive. I’m still in the process. I’ll let you know.
What about you? What do you do when you get blindsided by the unexpected?
*Romans 8:28; Matthew 7:7
Photo Credit: Vida Fugazz; Creative Commons