The PURPOSE of the Problem

by: Dr. Sharon Collins


On March 26, 2018, I wrote in my journal, “When I insist on how things are supposed to be—or on how I THINK that things are supposed to be—it is then that I remain in pain.” That day I asked Father God to break through my wall of HABIT, so that I can see what is on the other side. I had no idea how He would answer that prayer.

I have always been an inquisitive child. I never accepted the status quo. I always questioned the way things were—always wondered if I could improve on what I saw. But for a great part of my life I felt confused. Why? Because every time I would try to discuss anything I thought was quite weighty with my peers or my teachers, they would look at me curiously and ask me, “Where did you come up with that?”

I grew up thinking that before I could put any ideas on the table that I had to have research to back up what I said. But how could I? Many of the ideas I expounded had no research behind them; they were thoughts that just popped into my head as I pondered various things. I embraced them based on my personal observations and experiences.

Even my teachers told me that before I presented my ideas to others that I needed to research more so that I would have more backing for what I was trying to purport. To not do so was not scholarly and that I did not sound educated when I spoke.

So that day in March I again hit a place where I felt discouraged because the doctor I was talking to “kindly” dismissed my ideas about a treatment option that was not sanctioned by traditional medicine. He made me feel that I perhaps too easily embraced ideas as possible solutions when there were no rigorous studies to back them up even though those ideas were not harmful or dangerous to the patient. I began to recognize that I was depending on people agreeing with me to feel validated or credible. Therefore, the PURPOSE of the problem I faced that day was to reveal my insistence on having certainty, harmony, and peace.

But sometimes truth emerges out of chaos, causing us to look at things in a novel way and take a new approach. I got a new revelation that day. Sometimes the PURPOSE of the “problem” is to change FOCUS—maybe even my own.

Even with that very important and life-changing epiphany there is still something inside of me that demands a certain order to things. I still tend to demand the comfort of predictability. And I too often reach for the reassurance of certainty.

BUT real life offered to me the adventure of exposing myself to the risk of insecurity as I move forward in a way that is not necessarily “guaranteed” to bring about what I expected, and then having to wait patiently for answers to be revealed even as I take part in the act of creating what I want to see. I have been living the reality of this over the past two weeks, not sure what the end result will look like—something that has been extremely hard for me—possibly harder than anything I have had to go through in the past. I feel so unsteady and shaky as I walk a familiar medical path in a new way. But I am learning to trust that there is a PURPOSE in this “problem” and that eventually I will discover that the purpose is just as important as or even more important than the resolution of the problem.