Living in Shades of Grey

Making the most of the messy middle.png

"Ambiguity sucks, doesn't it?!?" That's a direct quote from a friend that I was chatting with just a couple days ago. We were talking about growing up, navigating adult life, and trying to figure out how to live in uncertain seasons.

It can be really hard.

I crave certainty and clarity (I even go to a church called Clarity Church). I like absolutes. I thrive on clear directions and explanations. I like to know the whole story, to see the big picture and all the little details. My organized little Type-A brain thrives on clear communication, understandable boundaries, known categories, and having a place for everything.


In the Messy Middle

But not everything fits into a neat little box. Not everything has a defined beginning, middle, or end. Sometimes you find yourself smack-dab in the middle without knowing quite how you got there or where you're headed. You're just in it, trying to find solid ground so you can keep moving forward.

Maybe you feel hopelessly stuck in the in-between; you're a few steps ahead of where you used to be, but so far removed from where you want to be. Progress is slow, and you wonder if you're really moving forward at all, frustrated with the lack of mobility and accomplishment.

Perhaps you're hoping for a beautiful ending, where love wins out, victory is yours, and all the ends are tied together in a pretty little bow, but the middle is so darn messy that you have no idea how that could ever be possible.

Or maybe your middle is when you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future, and you're not sure which one seems better because they're equally terrifying and challenging and you feel unable to choose between them.


Shades of Grey

Maybe you're finding yourself in a grey season or situation. Like when you desperately just want clarity-- you want to know if something is an open door or a closed one, but can't for the life of you tell which it is because it appears to be half-opened and half-shut. It's unnerving, isn't it?

Or how about when you're so tempted to answer your burning questions yourself just so you have an answer, but you know that's probably not the right solution; patience is, but yours is in danger of running out completely?

Or when what you thought you knew about yourself and the world is no longer as clear and crisp as it once was; when things are more fluid, vague, and in-between than you ever thought possible?

How about when you have an idea for something that is so undefined and unspecific that you don't know what to do with it, how to begin, or even how to talk about it because you can't find the words to describe something so ethereal, boundless, and mercurial?

Those are the grey moments, my friend. They will stretch you, make you uncomfortable, challenge you in ways you never expected, and leave you changed.

The good news is those moments offer opportunities along with the challenges they bring.


Finding the Silver Lining

Sometimes I find myself living in shades of grey instead of black and white, and I'm not all that fond of it. But my dislike for it isn't going to make it go away, so I'm learning to live with it and make the best of it.

I'm prayerfully embracing the uncertainty that comes with walking through seasons and situations that are full of change, transitions, and ambiguity. I'm choosing to see the lack of concrete answers as an opportunity to choose from a plethora of options, knowing that I'm not looking at options that are either good or bad, but all good and viable options. Living in shades of grey gives me the freedom to make decisions and learn from my mistakes.

It's also teaching me patience while I wait for things that are outside of my control to play out. Living in the midst of uncertainty reminds me that I'm not God and that He is in control at the end of the day. He knows what's best, and I have to trust that He's crafting a beautiful story here.


Have you found any tips or tricks to navigating life in shades of grey? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!


Further Reading:

8 Ways to Start A Project (Even If You Feel Clueless) by Emily P. Freeman