Letting Go of Outcomes

A recovery issue I've been dealing with lately is letting go of the compulsion to:

  • predict the future
  • figure out situations in advance
  • obsess about alternative paths
  • calculate every move to perfect timing
  • avoid risk by remaining indecisive

While I realize that planning ahead is both smart and beneficial, for me planning can easily disintegrate into second-guessing the "what ifs" to the point that no plans get made and nothing gets accomplished. Before I know it, I've spent days or weeks procrastinating over the outcome rather than making a decision. Some of my "what if" demons about future outcomes include:

  • What if I lose my job?
  • What if there isn't enough money?
  • What if I can't make my child support payments?
  • What if the car breaks down?
  • What if my kids don't like this decision?
  • What if so-and-so doesn't love me?
  • What if so-and-so leaves me?
  • What if so-and-so says no?
  • What if the next relationship is worse than the first?

The truth I have to remember is that life includes so much risk-taking. I want to avoid the extreme of jumping into situations without pausing to think. But I also want to avoid over-analyzing a situation to the point of paralysis. Both extremes are equally dangerous.

So the solution for me has been to find that position of positive, healthy balance. Somewhere between leaping and procrastinating is the calm, balanced center. A place where I am capable of making sound decisions (rather than reacting). A place where I can weigh the risk of moving forward with the risk of remaining static. A place where I can separate and determine God's will from my egotistical self-will. A place where my final decision rests on what is best for my life rather than what is best for today.

Most of all, I must remember that life cannot always be perfectly calculated. Sometimes it is OK to wait, and sometimes, it is OK to leap spontaneously into the unknown.


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Last Updated: 03 November 2014

Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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