There are moments in our lives when we simply don’t know what to do next. It could be the loss of a precious loved one, bad news from the consultant, the end of a cherished relationship, a sudden change to our work situation or even job loss and sadly sometimes it can be a combination of many different factors coming into play at once. Of course we all have moments where we simply don’t know what to do….
This is what I do when life becomes difficult and I don’t know what to do……
Try not to panic. What has happened has not been a surprise to God. He is still sovereign and in control, and ask God to help you regain your peace and get His perspective on the situation you face.
Identify why you feel the way you do and what is causing you to feel like you don’t know what to do? Maybe you feel fearful or have begun to lose your peace? At times like these I sometimes find it can help to ask myself the question ‘what’s the worse thing that could happen?’ and also ‘but what is the most likely outcome?’ This helps me to regain perspective. We can (sometimes) exaggerate the true reality of our situation.
Develop a God perspective (if you don’t know Him, now would be a good time to ask Him to come into your life and help you through this season). Remember what God has already brought you through – He has a proven record of not letting you down and promises:
‘Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.’ (Isaiah 46:4 NIV)
God promises to be with you in every situation you face. He is your rock, your deliverer, your saviour, your provider, your protector, your strong tower. He is NOT about to desert you or let you down in your time of need.
Make a choice (and ask God to help you) not to dwell on the issue. Worrying simply doesn’t help. Practice this advice:
‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.’ (Philippians 4:6-9 NLT)
I love this quote from Winston Churchill:
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
Don’t strive! When I was growing up people often used the phrase ‘Let go & Let God.’ It’s great advice when we don’t know what to do. He is omniscient which means ‘He knows all things.’ Maybe when you don’t know what to do its a good time to let the one, who clearly does know what to do, take control. Pray. Entrust your situation to Him.
‘Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God’ (Corrie Ten Boom)
Get into His Word. God will speak to you through His Word. There have been so many times when I have been unsure and haven’t known what to do and God has spoken to me with words of wisdom, comfort, peace, guidance….words that I would never have received had I not been reading His Word. His Word is living & active and sharper than any two edge sword (Heb. 4:12) and God will use it to speak into your situation.
Don’t rush into making any decisions….and before you do – seek God (I always ask him to clearly guide me (often through unexpected sources). Seek also the wise counsel of others (especially those who won’t necessarily agree with you and who will speak honestly into your situation). Get all the advice you can, and you will succeed; without it you will fail. (Proverbs 15:22 GNT)
Worship through the difficult season. When you start looking you can actually find things every day to be thankful for and also moments of joy & laughter. Look for them. This is really important during a tough season when it’s difficult knowing what to do.
Ask others to ‘pray you through.’ As a pastor I have many times committed to pray people through difficult seasons. I encourage you to find people you trust to carry you in prayer through those times. I know it has helped me immensely to know that others are praying.
Never give up.…life is like nature – the season changes and suddenly what was a barren garden can become a beautiful spring oasis. One of my former elders most assuring words were; ‘Simon, it will pass’ and you know what – it always did! So keep going!
Finally! Don’t forget the words of a guy who had his fair share of ‘not knowing what to do’ moments.’ King David said:
‘But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands’ (Psalm 31:14-15)
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Would love some feedback…