Embracing the Unknown

I’ve had several readers email me over the past few months asking me how I deal with the unknown and handle anxiety, so I thought I’d share my current situation with you all and how I’m dealing with it. The details I’ve chosen to leave out are for a variety of reasons, but I hope to keep you updated as time goes on. I appreciate your understanding!

So if you don’t know this already, I’m pretty darn Type A. This means I’m determined, a go-getter, a hard worker, (mostly) organized, and a planner. BUT it also means that I’m too hard on myself, I worry too much what others think, I’m a perfectionist, I struggle with anxiety, and I hate when things are outside of my control. I’m not saying every person with a Type A personality is like this, but it certainly describes me.

All of that being said, the unknown scares me. Like, a lot. I get anxious, I worry about every little “what if” that could go wrong, and I stress myself out over things that are completely out of my control. Hmm, doesn’t sound like the best way to handle things, does it?

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God has been teaching me a lot within the past year. My experience with hypothalamic amenorrhea was where it all started. Even though it was rough, I wouldn’t take that experience back for anything. It’s like God was sitting me down, telling me to chill out, and to just trust in Him. Easier said than done though, right?! Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy journey, but I’m certainly a changed person for the better from it.

Now here I am confronted with yet another huge unknown. Cody is in the midst of changing careers (I’m so proud of him!) which means some big changes for our little family. We could potentially be relocating which leaves tons of other details up in the air as well. It’s scary not knowing where we could be living in three months or if Cody will even get the job he is hoping for. Throw a new baby into the mix, and I’d say we’re in for a pretty big ride the next few months.

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I’ve realized in the midst of all of this unknown that I have two choices: 1) Turn into a crazy person and stress myself out which does absolutely nothing to help the situation; 2) Be open minded, trust that God is in the center of it all, and know that everything always works out for the best.

I’m actually pretty proud of how I’ve been handling it all the past couple months. Cody even turned to me the other day and told me how impressed he was with how I’ve been dealing with all the upcoming changes. That meant a lot to me considering he hardly stresses about anything (so unfair! Winking smile). I’ve had my occasional breakdowns and bouts of anxiety, but they’re fewer and further between than they ever would have been a year ago. I’ve learned to embrace the unknown rather than make myself a hot mess over it. It helps to look at it as a fun adventure than a bunch of scary “what ifs”.

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Of course I’m a work in progress, and embracing the unknown is something I’ll always have to work extra hard at, but I refuse to make my life miserable because I’m constantly stressed and anxious. I truly do believe shifting our perspective and giving it to God is what makes all the difference. Life is full of unknowns, so why not embrace them, right?

Questions:

  • What is your personality like?
  • Do you have a difficult time embracing the unknown?
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Comments

  1. Linz @ Itz Linz says

    Well you and Cody seem perfect for each other then! Jonny and I are the same except opposite. He is anxious and I’m not. Opposites attract right ? :)

  2. Kaitlyn says

    Love this post! I struggle with anxiety BAD! I’ve gotten a lot better over the years, but I still have my moments, and learning to deal with it has been constant. I especially struggle with the unknown, but just like you said, learning to trust that there is a purpose for everything is so key :)

  3. says

    Lovely open honest post! Thanks Ash! I have trouble embracing the unknown….totally Type A myself too! It’s totally like you say..be a crazy lady or trust that your faith will get you through. Hope everything works out well with Cody!

  4. says

    Love this post, I struggle with anxiety around my grad school courses and work. Sometimes I think the more you allow yourself to stress the harder it is on you. There are times I will spend hours stressing over something when in the same amount of time I could probably have just found a good solution. Keeping my fingers crossed for Cody and the job!

  5. says

    I think I definitely fall under the anxious/type A umbrella – I’m the sort of person who pretty much always has a plan and never deviates from it. So when something unexpected gets thrown in, it can be really difficult for me to deal with. I am getting better at just going with the flow though! The boyfriend is definitely a lot more relaxed than I am, so I’m just trying to follow his lead on a lot of things.

  6. says

    I have a very similar personality — and my husband is the laid back one. I get anxious about everything, especially in the winter when it’s so dark and gloomy. Yesterday, I asked him if he ever feels anxious, and he said “no.” I wish it was like that for me too, but I guess that’s why we’re a good match :).

  7. says

    You just described me to a T – I’m definitely a Type A personality too! I used to be really inflexible and I had such a hard time dealing with change, but I’m getting a lot better at it. Life can’t always go my way, and I need to be okay with that!

  8. says

    oh girl you can talk to me about changes! 6 weeks after having the baby we moved to north carolina for virginia. I didnt know a soul here! Find a good church and gym and mom network and you will be good to go!

    • Ashley says

      Oh I’m not worried about meeting people. If we move, it’ll be back to AZ where we both grew up so we have lots of family and friends there. I’m mostly concerned about what we’re going to do with our house here and me going into labor if/when Cody isn’t here with me. We shall see!

  9. Kim says

    Embracing the unknown has always been difficult for me (I’d play it safe by not taking any chances or go out of my comfort zone- no way to live!) until I met my husband. I NEVER thought I would end up with a military man, and with him being an officer in the Army, my life is now full of change and the unknown. In the past year I have moved from The Chicagoland area to El Paso which was a total culture shock, switched university’s to finish up my degree (I’m 27 which made transferring more nerve-wracking since I’m older than many of the students!), and transition into “army life”. No times or dates are ever concrete and he’s sometimes gone for weeks on end, and while somedays I struggle with everything, it’s the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had and it’s opened the door the door to new perspectives and opportunities. Just stay the positive, upbeat person you are and try not to stress about things that are out of your control! :)

    • Ashley says

      I’m so glad you’ve turned your experience into a positive one! Our perspective on things makes such a difference. Thanks for your encouragement!

  10. says

    I can really relate to what you’re saying. And I’m so proud for how far you have come! I really think as we grow and mature it get a little easier to accept life is out of our control but God ALWAYS has a great plan for our lives. My husband also told me this weekend how proud he was of my progress with this kind of stuff (he’s also considering changing jobs and a possible out of state move) so I know how good it makes you feel :-) Great job Ashley!

  11. says

    I am just like you girl (as you know)…! I struggle with anxiety, but as I am getting older I am getting better at handling fear nod giving my worries to God. Tim always says that he holds it together for me even if he feels scared at times too. I can imagine Cody dies the same for you! :)

  12. says

    I can relate to this A LOT. I have to feel in control and get nervous when I don’t know what to expect. My husband is much more relaxed than me. We are currently adjusting to a move from CA to VA and being pregnant with our first child. Career changes for the both of us and EVERYTHING BEING NEW. It is a challenge to step back and trust it will all work out for the best. Sounds like you are making so much growth in this area. AMAZING!

  13. says

    You are handling your situation beautifully! My life is kind of up in the air at this point as well, as I just graduated, and am on the job hunt. My original plan was to take a job offer near my boyfriend, and we were going to move in together. Then we figured out that he could not afford to move out of his parents house. Needless to say that kind of messed me up because I actually found a job there, I unfortunately am not handling it as gracefully as you!

    p.s. Got the hummus dressing, looking forward to trying it today!

  14. says

    Great post! I am 110% Type A too and my anxiety has been worse this past year or so, but then actually causing health issues this summer with paired with HA. I agree, that while it has not been an easy road I would not take it back for anything. I have to go through this all and it will only be better in the end. I am still working on the “don’t stress about the unknown” thing, but its a work in progress!

  15. says

    I hate the unknown and I hate change! And, like you, I despise being out of control. But lately, I’ve been trying to remind myself that I always end up getting things done, with or without the stressing!

    My boyfriend sounds a lot like your husband… He’s as cool as a cuke! He’s always trying to calm me down and help me relax. (Not an easy job!)

  16. says

    SO proud of you!! As you know I am quite similar, but it’s been amazing to really learn from Jared & from God–life is so much better when we just leave it up to Him, and not stress too much about it all ;) xoxo

  17. says

    I can definitely relate to all of this. I’m one of those people that ALWAYS needs something “next up” in life. Wedding, baby, job, school, etc. Now that I’m settled, married and with a baby…I’ve been anxious that the next logical step in life isn’t planned. I don’t know what’s next and there’s anxiety behind that and some excitement. I struggle with anxiety, but it’s something I mentally have to talk myself through. Take each day as it comes and embrace the unknown. Always easier said than done, but I’m learning!

  18. says

    I totally feel you on having trouble embracing the unknown. It’s taken me years to be able to face change without fear and I still struggle at times. For me, it helps to look back on all the times I worried about a situation and see that it turned out fine or turned out completely different than I thought it would so worrying about it never helped anyway. Glad to hear you’re doing well with all of your current unknowns. :)

  19. says

    I’m pretty type A and like certainty (minus the gender of the baby, you knew that haha), so I totally get what you mean. I’m glad you’re staying calm and collected. Do you think it has to do with the fact that Cody will be happier?! I think that would make me feel better about a hectic situation!!!

    I must admit, that I have been a little stressed lately (which may or may not have included a lot of tears) with school and a baby because I can’t just sit down and study for three hours straight like I used to be able to. I’m slooooowly adapting to this change, but I admit it’s a hard one!!

    • Ashley says

      Oh it definitely helps to know that Cody would be happier. Although he’s always so optimistic, so he makes it easy. Ugh girl, I hope you’re hanging in there ok. I’ve been thinking of you!

  20. says

    This post is truly beautiful Ashley! I can honestly say, this past year, I’ve had to deal with more change in my life and myself than I ever have before. It’s terrifying, but when you are on the right path, and truly believe it, only positive things will happen. Thanks for sharing this reminder!

  21. Amanda N says

    The unknown and change are two big things that I have a hard time dealing with, it takes me a long time to process what is going on and how it will all be okay in the end. In between I have lot of freakouts and breakdowns usually. Luckily my husband is not like this at all and is very calm and rational all of the time. He helps me a lot and I think I’ve actually gotten better over time, but they still take their toll on me. You just have to take it one day at a time and hope for the best, no matter how hard it is :)

  22. says

    This post is great. I really relate to it. Not only because I am a type A personality, but because it’s been very prevalent lately. I needed to hear these things today, so thank you!

  23. says

    I’m pretty Type A myself, and anxiety has been something that I’ve struggled with as long as I can remember. It used to be a lot worse for me though – any change in plans or unknowns would send my mind reeling, but I think I’ve gotten a lot better with accepting it as I’ve gotten older. Having my plans change, and seeing that the world didn’t fall apart as a result, really helped… No matter what happens, we always find ways to deal with it :)

  24. says

    I feel like I’m Type A- / B+ lol…if that makes any sense? I was actually talking about it with a friend this weekend (who is extremely Type A) and I feel like I fall somewhere in the middle. I definitely have qualities of both, and as much as I’ve tried, I just can’t seem to give myself one label or the other? :)

  25. says

    We are the exact same, Ashley! I’m pretty type A, but am constantly working on being more go with the flow. I think I’m more lax (aka, not a control freak lol) about things than I really am. But again, I’m working on it!
    I agree with Cody – I think you are doing fabulous :)

  26. says

    Reading this post was like reading a post I would write myself. I am the same way. I hate the unknown, and I live in black & white – no room for shades of gray! It’s exhausting living in such a vice, and I’m trying to find ways to cope with my anxiety as well. Your last quote sums it up the best – “don’t think, just breathe and have faith” – and that’s exactly what I try and do!

  27. says

    Ashley I really connected to this post! I read it this morning and knew I needed to respond. I feel the exact same way. I am type A. Things need to be perfect. I am constantly worried about the what-ifs. I do not take the unknown very well. I need a plan and I need to stick to it! I should say, I used to be. I deal with this personality every day, but like you, I have really been trying to change and focus on God and his plan for me! Aaron (my fiance) is exactly like Cody, though, and is completely fine just going with the flow and not having a stress in the world! He has been my rock during wedding planning and house searching! Thank you, though, for making it seem a little more normal to feel this way, and that others are getting through it, also!

  28. says

    I am Type A as well and “Queen of the what ifs”, I even said “what if” a lot when I was a child.
    I’m with you, definitely working on worrying less, going with the flow and trusting that life will work out for my highest good.
    Great post, I can totally relate – thank you!

  29. says

    Ryne and I are BOTH type-A (but I’m definitely worse). It’s ridiculous. We both panic and then somehow at the same time we both just say “ahhh F-it”. haha It’s like we’ve taught each other to chill out.

    Y’all have so much coming up, but it will be the BEST times of your lives, I’m sure!

  30. says

    GREAT post Ash– and you know I’m totally with ya on the type A personality flaws. It’s funny because it was when I too finally started to let go of the whole idea of “perfecting” my fitness/health journey that I was able to embrace changes around me in many other areas as well. I’m so happy to see the work that God is doing in your life and your heart. :)

  31. says

    I love this post…I can just relate SO much…I struggle with the unknown, and it’s really hard for me to not have a plan to follow, which is exactly what I’m dealing with right now…thanks for posting this, Ashley. It’s a great reminder that I get to choose my reaction to it all and trusting God is what will bring me the peace I need.

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