Quarantine Emotion #2: Navigating Confusion

Society is clamoring to get back to normal but there are conflicting opinions about when and how that will happen. When will we reopen? How long will it take? Will it be safe to go back to work? How will we know? 

The blend of true and false information online clouds any clarity with doubt, suspicion and fear. Suddenly everyone on social media is an expert, adding to the mass hysteria and hype.

If you’re experiencing the harsher side of this pandemic, other kinds of confusion can arise. Why did this happen to me? Is it my fault? Does God still love me? Is He even good, in control or safe?

Confusion leaves you feeling disoriented and lost. It’s human nature to try to make sense of your circumstances. Not having enough answers in an unpredictable and uncertain situation can create a sense of helplessness and lack of control. To regain a sense of agency, we may be tempted to grasp at anything that promises relief – regardless of its accuracy.

When I suddenly lost my dad, my whole world went into a tailspin. After the initial shock and grief, I started questioning everything I had known to be true. Confusion, doubt, and depression clouded my view of the world, my circumstances and God. Because I was vulnerable and in so much pain, I was easily swayed by theories and opinions rather than adhering to the facts. This led to far more trauma and internal dysregulation than was necessary.

A desire for clarity, answers, healing, and normalcy is a good thing. Wrestling with questions and doubt is important. But from the fog of confusion, a desperation for relief can open you up to falsehood and poor decision-making.

How to Cope

Pay attention to how confusion or a desire for normalcy is influencing your beliefs, attitudes and decisions.

Correlation does not mean causation. Just because something seems true doesn’t mean it is. Two associated variables doesn’t always imply cause-and-effect. Having a bad respiratory illness last fall doesn’t make it Covid-19. Bad things don’t only happen to people who deserve it. Adversity does not mean that God is not good. If I feel like God is silent when I’m suffering, it doesn’t mean He has abandoned me. Consider what connections and assumptions you may be making.

Truth is what brings clarity. It anchors you in the storm of adversity. So ask yourself, what is true? Stick to the facts and go from there.

God cares about the truth; He is truth (John 14:6). There is no sin, deceit or falsehood in Him (1 John 1:5, Ps 92:15). God went to great lengths to reveal truth to humanity, recorded in His Word, so that we would not be left in darkness (Jer 17:9). He is not a God of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor 14:33). The truth is what “sets us free” from any confusion, lies, doubt and fear (John 8:32).

In some circumstances, truth becomes more obvious with time. And sometimes the guise of confusion is actually grief. Even if all our questions were answered, we may still have to deal with loss. Sometimes comfort, not clarity, is what we really need.

When you are struggling with uncertainty, here are some tips that can help:

  • Accept the fog of confusion. It’s okay to feel confused.
  • Recognize the fear, mistrust, doubt and poor decisions that can come as a result.
  • Start with what you know. Stick to facts over theories or opinions. Be objective.
  • Stay informed with trusted, reliable and proven sources.
  • Be patient.
  • Learn how to deal with the feelings behind your confusion like anger, grief and fear.

The truth will bring clarity if you are willing to dig and wait for the facts. Remove distractions, wrestle with your doubts, and ultimately trust God with the outcome.

 


This post is part of a 10-part series on how to successfully navigate your emotions during quarantine. Check out the other emotions in this series below: 

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