Do You Choose Unhappiness Over Uncertainty?

Do You Choose Unhappiness Over Uncertainty?
I'm not telling you it's going to be easy. I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.

The other night my husband turned on the TV and Fools Rush In happened to be on. We ended up watching it and I found it interesting, at the end, when Matthew Perry’s character seemed floundering, and a crazy old priest said “Signs are everywhere”… and then, there were signs.

Whenever it seems that God is teaching me something, it’s the same way. Particularly this week I’ve been working through some decisions and it involves change. So many phrases keep coming up, in books I’m reading, articles people share even simple conversations with friends. The signs are everywhere: Change is uncomfortable.

It’s relevant to all areas in our lives. I see it particularly in the minimalist movement- either with people “wishing” they could live that way, or as people work through the decluttering process to get there.

Change is hard. 

When we have clutter in our life, it’s because we’re used to it. It’s familiar. We’ve always been surrounded by clutter and so even if we daydream of a clean and clear home, there is a big part of us that is terrified of it. It’s unfamiliar. This means we don’t really know if it will be life-changing, we don’t really know what it will be like to live without a to-do list that is a mile long, we don’t really know how we’ll keep it that way. So many variables. And we Just. Don’t. Know.

So, often, we choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

Yes, we are unhappy in our chaotic surroundings. Yes, we are unhappy with the way we spend our time. Yes, we are unhappy in unhealthy relationships. But we know what to expect, so there is a certainty. And oddly enough, we find comfort in certainty, even when we’re unhappy.

Change is uncomfortable. It’s not bad- in fact, it may be the best thing EVER. But as the changes are taking place and we don’t know what will come next- we get anxious. We have a fear inside us and it just seems easier to stay put, stay in these unpleasant situations, stay in our home surrounded by stuff, simply because we know what to expect.

It reminds me of a story I heard from a friend:

A man stops by to visit a farmer. They sit down on the front porch, sipping some iced tea and as they visit an old dog is sleeping nearby. Now and then the dog let out a yowl and a whimper and seemed rather uncomfortable.

After some time the man asked the farmer: “What is wrong with your dog?”

The farmer replied, “Right where he is sleeping, there is a nail that is sticking up and it’s jabbing him.”
The man scratched his head and asked: “Why doesn’t he just get off the nail?”

“Well,” said the farmer, “it doesn’t hurt that bad.”

And there we are. In our clutter. In our mess. In our overscheduled lives. In our unhealthy relationships. In our lukewarm spirituality. And we whine and complain… but we don’t move because it doesn’t hurt that bad.

So I challenge you: You know the thing you been putting off because it’s uncomfortable to face it or change it? Take a deep breath, pray for wisdom and go do it.

Do you need help working through decluttering? Here’s a list of my products and I’ll walk you through the exact steps I took to achieve a clean and organized home.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I created a FREE Facebook Group - feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group and I share videos each week on YouTube


  1. Cristina Martin on 05/14/2015 at 10:53 pm

    Hi! I decided to become be a minimalist, I am in the process of cleaning everything in my life. Its hard, how you deal with emotional materials?

  2. Karen T. on 05/15/2015 at 2:08 am

    This is brilliant. I’m a minimalist, and my family and I made the change many years ago. But I’m facing another really big change that I need to make in my life, and your comments are exactly what I needed to hear. Do I choose unhappiness, or fear? Thanks for helping me think.

  3. Sandra Miller on 05/16/2015 at 10:23 pm

    I am reminded of the Israelites after being rescued from slavery in Egypt. Sara Groves has a poignant song about the Israelites painting pictures of Egypt, how they longed to go back where they at least had food instead of wandering in the desert. I find myself too often with a similar longing for what I know even though it may be less than ideal. Thank you for sharing!

    • Rachel on 05/18/2015 at 5:35 pm

      Oh that’s so true!

  4. Janelle on 05/25/2015 at 4:54 pm

    Great insights, Rachel. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. anonymous on 05/31/2016 at 12:12 pm

    This is so true of me and I’ve known it for about three years. Not related to minimalism, but life in general. My husband has bipolar and psychotic episodes. He was very sick from 2010-2013 and at first I had no clue what was happening. Paranoia, hearing voices, extreme irritability, erratic, impulsive, verbally abusive, and eventually physically abusive (at which point he was forced to live at his parents). I eventually lost hope that he would ever be healthy again (especially after multiple unsuccessful 911 calls to get him help and two unsuccessful hospitalizations). Praise the Lord he finally got stabilized on the right medication during his third hospitalization and had been healthy (for the most part) for three years. But I’ve been paralyzed in fear and unable to move on with life, scared that it will all be snatched away again. He’s currently in the hospital after stopping his medication and going into a manic episode with psychosis (can’t think clearly to communicate and hearing voices).
    I’ve learned the hard lesson that my only security will ever be in God. There is a lot of uncertainty in our future, but Jeremiah 29 encourages me. Like the exiles were commanded to go on living life, not just living, but flourishing, having children, giving them in marriage, building homes, etc. I know I can learn to do that myself if I keep my eyes on God.

    • Rachel on 05/31/2016 at 3:44 pm

      That is so true! When our eyes are focused on Him, everything else falls into place. Life here isn’t easy in any way, but having our security in Him is all we need. <3

  6. Luna on 03/01/2019 at 4:48 pm

    Wow. Powerful words. Just read this back-to-back with your post on Living With Purpose. I’m from a family of Depression-Era “keepers”, and grew up with clutter everywhere. I’m committed to breaking that pattern and simplifying my Life so I’ll have time and energy to focus on my true goals, but have been resisting it too. Thank you for the insight on why!

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