Sign up for my newsletter and get a free chapter from English Lessons! Click here.

When I Am Certain of Nothing Else

The first part of 2018 has looked very different from my past few years as a full-time writer. As a writer, I spend most of my days alone typing at my computer, with the occasional phone call thrown in. But this year, I’ve had several speaking engagements that have required preparation and travel. I’ve been writing, but I’ve been writing talks and sermons, and I’ve spent a good deal of time in my living room reading over them and timing myself. My vocal chords are adjusting to what are typically quiet days.

While I’ve enjoyed these opportunities to craft and deliver a message in a new way, I have always felt a bit uncomfortable with the posture speakers must take. Standing on a stage, behind a podium, in front of an audience, with a microphone to amplify her voice. As if she is so confident. As if she is so certain. When really, I feel little of either. I paint my nails. I wear eyeliner. I think carefully about my hair and outfit. But I am probably doing these things to compensate for my lack of confidence and certainty. I want my outsides to match the environment—the stage, the mic, the podium—even if my insides rarely do.

The majority of these speaking engagements have been in church settings and, therefore, the majority of my talks have been on biblical topics. This makes assuming the speaker’s posture even more difficult for me. My faith is ever evolving and with it, so am I. How I understood God two years ago is very different from how I understand him today. And the older I get, the less certain I feel about how I’ve always believed things to be. I am so consistently proven wrong. I can no longer hold truths as tightly as I once did. And I become acutely aware of this uncertainty in the place I feel I am expected to be most certain: the podium.

Another setting in which I often become so acutely aware of my uncertainty is in conversations with people of other faiths. I had one of these recently with a friend who had good and thoughtful questions about Christianity. Many of my responses were along the lines of, “That’s a good question. I’m not sure.” Historically, my lack of answers would have been unsettling for me, but this time felt different. I sat more comfortably in the tension. I tried to hold both of our faiths’ in my hands, rather than clinching my fists around mine.

To me, the humility of uncertainty is the mark of growth. The grasping for certainty is the mark of a fear of growth, a resistance to what is uncomfortable in the moment but could teach you so much in the future. The older I get, the more wary I am of others who claim to be certain and the more drawn I am to those who can admit they are not.

That being said, let me now (hypocritically) say this. In the midst of all of my uncertainty, there is one experience I continue to feel great certainty in: Through the life and teachings of Jesus, I have felt loved by God, and this love has changed me.

This is what I felt beneath my uncertainty when having that conversation with my friend. I felt uncertain, but I also recalled this feeling of being deeply loved—something so difficult to articulate but probably the only thing that has kept me here in this faith for so very long.

You cannot fabricate the feeling of being loved. Trust me, I’ve tried. You probably have too. Remember that boy you loved who didn’t love you back, but each time he looked at you or said “hello” in passing you read into his tone and his body language and convinced yourself he was in love with you too? You made up thoughts he had about you. You told yourself he was just holding back from expressing his love until the proper time.

And remember how hard the crash back to reality was when what you knew all along deep down was finally proven true: He did not love you. He was not just holding back for fear of exposing his true feelings. When he waved in passing and said hello, that’s really all he was doing—waving in passing and saying hello.

No, you cannot fabricate the feeling of being loved in a way that is meaningful and life-changing. It is a hollow dream. An illusion that turns to vapor and leaves your open hands empty.

This has not been my experience with the love of God. I have not yet crashed to the reality of my fabrication of being loved by him. In fact, I seem to be falling deeper into the awareness of being loved by him. The longer I live, the more I mess up, the more loved I feel. How is this possible? Perhaps a psychologist could explain, but I think I’ve experienced enough unrequited love to know the difference by now. I’m at a point where I cannot help but succumb to the reality of being loved by this being I cannot see but can so deeply feel.

This is what I come back to when I know nothing else. I feel loved in the moments that I should not feel loved. I feel loved as someone who has done very little in life to deserve such a love. In spite of it all, I feel loved. This love has changed me, and it is through this lens that I now see the world, and it is so much more beautiful than it was before.

This knowledge of love allows me to say things like, “That’s a good question. I’m not sure.” When I am unfeeling of, or unaware of this love, I feel the need to clinch my fist and prove my point. The more I feel loved, the more I can open my hands and let myself sink into uncertainty. It sounds backwards to feel more loved by God even as I confess I know less and less about him. But I am beginning to think a lot of this Christian faith is very backwards, and I should just get used to that.

So if you see me speak somewhere this year, know that I will say a lot of things, and I will feel varying amounts of certainty at various times about those things. I will be wearing eyeliner and I will have painted my nails to make myself look put together and like I know things, but really, all I know is this: I am loved in a way that I cannot help. I am loved in a way that has changed me and continues to change me. It is the great mystery of my life. It is the great truth of my life. And even though I will keep talking for around 45 minutes, when it’s all said and done, that is really all I have to say.

8 COMMENT

  1. Suzy Dudich | 6th Mar 18

    Andrea,
    Thank you so much for this piece. It spoke volumes to me and to my uncertainties, and yet THE certainty of being loved. You are a gift!!
    Love
    Suzy

  2. Annie Parsons | 6th Mar 18

    You are one of my very favorite writers, Andrea — not in a “someone I follow online because they act cool and happen to have written a book” sort of way, but in a “person who strings words together like pearls” way. You express your thoughts beautifully. And it seems we’re walking a similar path right now.

    • Andrea Lucado | 8th Mar 18

      So glad to have others to journey the path with 🙂

  3. Jed | 6th Mar 18

    In 2 Timothy 2:15,
    “Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved
    Worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, Rightly dividing the word of truth “

    Admitting Sinking into uncertainty will work for the time being. However, don’t use uncertainty as a crutch. Plus, their is no excuse for not handling the word of truth with precision. I have seen some of the books that you’ve read. They are not books that teach biblical truth. The majority of the books that I’ve seen you share are pep talk type books. Try reading books by Ravi Zachariah, Michael Wells book sidetracked in the wilderness, and Dr. David Jeremiah. These authors and their books are not story books made to make you feel good. They are books that are valuable in teaching one how to rightly divide the word of truth. If you cannot answer a question asked from a different religion please do not teach others that it’s okay to never know the answer. Not once in this blog did you mention that you Took time to find the answer.
    To rightly divide the word of truth implies dissection. To divide the truth is cut it open so that one can look into it and To the bottom of it. When the word is cut open one is looking for every truth hidden within it. Uncertainty maybe a cop out and a way of life for some. But the word of God clearly states in 2 Timothy 2:15 that the answer for uncertainty is to work hard at studying the word of God. I am not suggesting that one will always have an answer for every question asked . However, being comfortable in uncertainty and assuming that God places less value in his word By asserting that he is okay with our excuses is wrong. Gods word trumps our excuses. Yes God loves us. When we are unfaithful he remains faithful. But this truth should not be an excuse to not study his word. let go of feel good type books. Let’s not turn Gods Grace into a dis-grace with our excuses.

  4. Chelsea Recicar | 8th Mar 18

    I relate to you so much & you can ask your mom and dad if they agree! Jed’s comment is fundamental to the religiously that you must fight hard not to buy into. Lovers of God come in all forms and spiritual truths come from many sources! i have a feeling you have had the veil removed from your eyes and when that happens it can be a lonely road! hang in there!

    • Andrea Lucado | 8th Mar 18

      That’s exactly what it has felt like, Chelsea. Thank you 🙂

  5. Jolyn | 21st Mar 18

    I understand exactly what you are saying. I have spent my life “rightly dividing the word” and I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never understand, but ONE thing that I know consistently is that God is love. He “knows our frame is weak” and he loves us anyway and in spite of and because of and … I really don’t get it, but since I have let go of making sure I have it all “right,” I’m doing much better.
    Thank you for writing so eloquently.

  6. Melinda | 19th Jun 18

    Jed’s comments are spot on. To only understand that God is love tells me that baby Christians exist behind the other comments. How can people of other faiths and beliefs come to understand the saving grace of Jesus Christ if we can’t answer their questions? No we don’t know and aren’t expected to be able to answer every single thing, however, we are expectedto know the basic TRUTH of His word. Otherwise, they are getting totally inaccurate information from people who really don’t have a clue about our Lord other than that He is Love. Ignorance is not acceptable as a Christian. Only through spending time through prayer and scripture do we come to know Him. How did you get to know intimately your friends/spouse etc? By spending much time with them. Read and study and pray. Then you won’t be uncertain. A relationship with Christ, not head knowledge, is our desire as Christian’s.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.