Dissidence: How to live in a world with no good answers

Dissidence is Not Comfortable

Being in a place of conflict with competing sides is not a comfortable place to be. We’ve been taught to problem solve, resolve conflict and mediate compromise. In other words we’re taught to return to a place of equilibrium as soon as possible. In our need for the strain to lift, we expect peace to be our norm.

But what if we’re in a season where that can’t be?

Have we been taught how to live in the tension? Do we have the skills to be in dissidence without resolution?

There’s the word: Dissidence. Its to lack agreement, which we obviously do, but also to lack harmony, which is harder to be OK with.

What if there isn’t an answer to be found? Can you live with that? Can I?

This won’t be over soon so we’ll have to find a way.

1. Lift Your Eyes Up

When discord is in the air, our first priority is to resolve it. But if that’s not quickly possible, then back away from the tension. Stop talking about it. Stop seeking more opinions, articles, anecdotes and conversations. The additional input only adds confusion and frustration to the fire. Normally more researching would be a wise next step. But to Live In The Dissidence, we need another approach.

Lift your eyes up out of the conflict and give your mind a chance to breath.

Start listening to conversations on other topics altogether. Or take a break from everything. Listen to your breathing and literally look at the sky. The Dissidence remains, but your heart rate slows down.

2. Make a Decision Anyway

Some decisions cannot be put off. For example, this month there are no good answers about the new school year. And yet a decision has to be made. Even in a place of prayer and listening, there is no clear direction. Perhaps we make a decision anyway.

Become good at the fast pivot.

So we make a decision and proceed. And when we decide that decision was not the best one, we find a way to pivot. There are very, very few decisions in our lives that are truly permanent. Most can be undone or at least adjusted by taking the new fork in the road that will suddenly appear. We would be less frozen in decision making if we gave ourselves permission to make wrong decisions. Have confidence in your “now” decisions and courage to make new ones later.

3. Accept Some Risk

In a world of no good answers, there will be risk in any choice. For the risk averse among us, this is the hardest part to live with. Right now we are facing the tension between medical risk vs. mental health risk vs. financial risk vs. viral spread risk vs. civil rights risk vs. political risk vs. educational risk vs. personal rights risk, etc. There’s no end to the Dissidence.

How then shall we live?

We are expectant of a certain level of equilibrium, comfort and safety, here in the ol’ US of A. At the root of that is the reliance on self and on society to support our right to keep ourselves safe, stable and secure. We think we can keep ourselves safe.

What if we cannot? What if we move forward into risky situations and only the Lord can keep us (and our families) safe? We cannot mitigate these risks ourselves. Our ways and solutions are too young compared to the Divine’s ancient ways. We must accept some risk to continue living our lives.

4. Be OK with the Dissidence.

This is the hard part. No “strategy” right now will remove the Dissidence. We can only learn to live with it. So let’s give grace, speak slowly and take deep breaths. Let’s take our own emotional temperature from time to time. Let’s get creative to meet our needs in new ways.

Prolonged strain and tension can be an anxiety and depression trigger. In a world with no good answers, this is one of the biggest issues we need to find a way thorough. How will you be OK? How will you live in the unique challenges and struggles of your family during this time and stay strong emotionally and mentally.

Yes, I am too young to have the answers.

Oh Lord, see us, your children, for we are too young. Your ways and your wisdom is higher, older than mine. Your answers, though they allude me, are what I need. Cover us with your hand. Hide us. Comfort us. Protect us. And guide us through the strain.

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