Healing Ourselves

by Julie Canfield
0 comment

Esther 3:14 (NRSV)

Copies of the document were posted in every province, and all nations were ordered to be prepared for that day. The matter was also expedited in Susa. And while the King and Haman caroused together, the city of Susa was thrown into confusion.


Confusion is such a profound word. Remember your childhood. Did you ever spin around until you got dizzy and disoriented? Back then, it was fun to stumble around, unable to walk a straight path, unsure if we were standing upright.  For adults, confusion is not a fun place to live, much less visit occasionally, but visit it we do, especially when going through the trials of a life-changing situation.

American Heritage Dictionary defines confusion as the state of being confused; an impaired orientation with respect to time, place, or person. Does this sound like a familiar state? I’m not talking about visiting this place when you take medicine or drink more then you should have. Nor if you’re a diabetic who has experienced foggy brain thinking during a sugar drop or spike. I’m talking about when you have been slapped by a situation or event you didn’t see coming, the unexpected death of a friend or family member, a relationship breakup, perhaps shocking news such as being fired, or unplanned pregnancy.

How often has one piece of paper, a letter, or email, a text or voicemail, created a sense of mixed feelings inside of you? When going through a time of grief, these communications can bring a sick feeling to the pit of your stomach. Acid levels and blood pressures climb. The words “Oh God, what now?” crash into your minds. Confusion sets in as your mind prepares to handle more bad news. The good news is this: everything you are feeling is normal and can be managed and controlled by you. It takes time, though.

Ironically, confusion happens when we first hear devastating news. As the story gets processed and accepted, grief begins. During the time of grieving, uncertainty hangs around to keep our thoughts muddled, our anxieties high. Stress levels elevate when names, reminders, events, trigger our thoughts to redirect themselves back to the land of confusion. Our brains are nothing more than neurotransmitters on pathways that are connected and mapped out in ways science is still learning.

As we learn to adjust to our new life aftershock, there are some days it doesn’t take much to rattle our souls awake and stir up troubling thoughts. It would be nice if there were a way we could avoid these feelings. But there is not. These feelings of confusion, doubt, anxiety, can be handled. We must learn to adjust our defense mechanisms and shift our thought paradigms. This, of course, is easier said than done.

As I struggled through the murky waters of my divorce, I often wondered when peace would come for good. For the first few months, probably close to a year, tears were daily, and so was confusion. Often I wondered where to turn, who to talk to for advice and spent much time with friends who dealt with the pendulum of mood swings that could happen in a conversation. I may start out crying then move to rant or vice versa. In the end, they knew and accepted, I was working through the emotional muck my life had become. I devoured everything I could on how to handle my emotions and feelings. Here are some of the things I learned.

It’s never good to keep your thoughts inside when you are in the land of “what does this mean?” Talking to a friend helps you to get a better handle on your feelings, and if you are honestly vocalizing your thoughts, often you can pinpoint what item is troubling you most. It’s incredible how hearing your thoughts can help you see the problem in a different light.

Yet being honest with ourselves is difficult. To get correct, you must be willing to accept blame. You must be willing to expose your flaws and your lack of understanding. I find it easier to talk to God during these times rather than pray. I speak as if he is next to me as if he were my closest friend and confidant. The irony here is, he is. Despite how I may rant at him for abandoning me, I know he walks with me, and he is my friend and confidant. To him, I can say everything I feel inside and know he will only listen. By vocalizing my concerns, I hear my inner self come out and start to get a handle on the actual issue that is causing my confusion. It is during these times that I ask for clarity from him.

During our struggles, confusion can sometimes become a constant reminder of what we are dealing with. We desire peace and serenity. We want this struggle to end. It seems we are living in the land of no specific answers and we don’t know how to relocate. This is when we need to shift the paradigm of our thinking. There is always something good hiding beneath the garbage. It’s waiting to be found. When you decide to look for it, then you are in the process of changing your thought patterns. Turning a negative into a positive is not simple. It requires some work. What’s in front is terrible. What overcomes it is good. When you make an effort to look for a positive in the situation you are going through, then you are making an effort to overcome one of the boulders that get placed on our life pathway. When you focus your thoughts on where this positive bit can lead, doors of possibilities which were closed,  open, and the journey out of confusion starts.

We can benefit from our time in the land of confusion. Not a sentence you were expecting to read, I know. The next one is even more out there. When we feel lost, we have no idea of what is happening to us, or where to turn or go, ultimately, when all else fails, we seek God and answers from him. This is where we benefit.

Seek, and you will find, we are told. Being confused makes us seek clarity, answers, a road map of our life. When we seek, typically, we turn to a higher being for answers. It is during these times of crisis that we embrace him more because we see we need him more than we thought we did.

By seeking a way out of the land of confusion, we learn to trust. By learning to trust again, we begin to heal ourselves. Trust is a hard bridge to rebuild in our lives, and it’s not easy to do. To restore our trust in others, we find we must take a massive leap of faith. We must focus and walk closer to the one person we can count on to always be with us through all of the muck and messiness that life gives. When we let ourselves draw closer to him, we deepen our spirituality and learn to see there will be an end eventually, and life will have a more profound meaning.

When we choose to press through the fogginess of confusion, instead of staying rooted in it, we learn new ways of thinking, gain insight into new perceptions of not only our actions but those who helped send us to that dark dwelling place. Owning blame instead of letting it define you, makes you stronger, more confident, more level, and well- balanced humans.

Out of confusion, comes good. We don’t notice it until we are out of the jumbled mess, but when we have cleared up the clutter, we see the outcome, we grasp the benefits and the new possibilities. We experience the sense of weight being lifted, see the garbage we left behind and grow thankful we are no longer there. Remember, beauty always comes from the ashes. Start making the beauty from your mess by creating a new positive page in your life story.

Julie Canfield

You may also like

Leave a Comment