Confused? A Wilderness Experience Might be the Cure

Decision Making Spiritual Formation Teachable Moments Wilderness Bible Studies

Confusion and impotence are the inevitable results when the wisdom and resources of the world are substituted for the presence and power of the Spirit. – Samuel Chadwick

Matt Scott bridge photo - Confused

Why am I so con·fu·sed?

Being confused is one of the most common and most unsettling of human experiences. Uncertainty about what to do, what is going on around you, or what is expected of you can make you confused. When you are confused it is usually because things are happening that you can’t seem to control.

We must face confusion and develop faith to deal with it. If we do not learn how to walk through confusion we will lack resilience throughout our whole life. I often share with adolescents: If you think unbridled confusion in your adolescence is discouraging, imagine what your life will look like if you don’t have a way to deal with being confused in your adulthood: getting married, having kids, getting good jobs, etc.

Wilderness experiences can help you be more resilient when you are confused. The outdoors provides disorienting situations that will help you cope with confusion and overcome it. The most resilient leaders are ones who walk directly into confusion to grow their character, skill, and faith. In the Bible, David was a perfect example of this. He was a simple shepherd but through living with his sheep in the wilderness he developed the kind of heart and skills to lead a whole nation:

He chose David his servant
    and took him from the sheep pens;
from tending the sheep he brought him
    to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
    of Israel his inheritance.
And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
    with skillful hands he led them. (Psalm 78:70-72)

Symptoms You May be Confused

Disorientation, disorder, chaos are all synonyms for confusion. We don’t choose to be confused, in fact we usually try to avoid it. Confusion sets in like a fog over your mind…

  • When you don’t understand how systems works (family, teams, workplace, organizations, churches, governments, community, etc.)
  • When you are paralyzed by decisions
  • When you are dealing with emotions that feel out of control and I don’t know how to begin unraveling them
  • When you are weighed down by relational conflict
  • When events or circumstances happen that you were not prepared for, i.e. a crisis

RELATED: 3 Ways Time Outdoors Helps Your Decision Making Process

If you are following Jesus there is great hope and comfort when you get confused. He is a Good Shepherd who leads us with all wisdom and gentleness. And he has given us his Word (the Bible), which has immediate power to re-orient us because it is Living, and Active, and Sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible is not merely a book of wise sayings to help us along our journey, it is God’s Living Words that speak to our mind and soul and restore us from the chaos of confusion to a place of settled trust in him, regardless of the situation:

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace…. (1 Corinthians 14:33)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 )

There is no better anchor than the Word of God. When you feel out of control and careening toward confusion, put down your anchor and let the Shepherd of your soul lead you through your disorientation to the wide open spaces of order and peace that can only be experienced through wholesale faith in Jesus Christ.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, (Hebrews 6:19)

Devotion Questions When You are Confused

What is an area of your life where you are feeling confused right now?

  • Some examples might be:
    • When you don’t understand how systems works (family, teams, workplace, organizations, churches, governments, community, etc.)
    • When you are paralyzed by decisions
    • When you are dealing with emotions that feel out of control and I don’t know how to begin unraveling them
    • When you are weighed down by relational conflict
    • When events or circumstances happen that you were not prepared for, i.e. a crisis

Where do you turn when you get confused? Consider this quote:

Confusion and impotence are the inevitable results when the wisdom and resources of the world are substituted for the presence and power of the Spirit. – Samuel Chadwick

Whether you “feel” it or “believe” it right now or not, what does God’s Word say about your confusion right now? Find some Scripture in a concordance or your own Bible study, and do not fear what is confusing you, fear God instead:

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
    who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
    blessings and prosperity will be yours. (Psalm 128:1-2)

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