Be strong and have strength of heart. Do not be afraid or shake with fear because of them. For the Lord your God is the One Who goes with you. He will be faithful to you. He will not leave you alone~ Deuteronomy 31:6-7 NLV
I do not pretend to know everything there is to know about life.
I freely admit that there is more I don’t know than there is that I do know. Moreover I am well aware that even after more decades on this planet than I like to talk about I probably still don’t know what I don’t know.
That said, there are some things I am convinced are true. The first is that God is a good God. He always has our best interests at heart, even when our feelings or circumstances tell us something different. The second is that spiritual truth simply does not change or become untrue because the culture in which we live tells us otherwise. God’s opinions do not “evolve”. If something was true from a spiritual perspective two thousand years ago then it is still true today. Notwithstanding all the reports you have likely heard to the contrary.
And lastly, I am persuaded that every human being who walks through life on this silly, sin-sick planet has or will experience the frustration and confusion that comes with not knowing what to do or how to respond to a particular situation or problem. Sadly, there are times in this life when education, wisdom or extensive personal experiences still leave us thoroughly ill equipped to handle the junk life throws at us.
An unpleasant and sometimes overwhelming sense of defeat generally accompanies these times. The muddle is further compounded by the fact that the stuff that vexes us most in life is generally profoundly personal and often deeply painful. This ends up leaving even the best of us feeling bewildered, vulnerable and peeved with God (Psalm 10:1, Psalm 13:1, Psalm 27:9).
Which leads to doing a whole lot of nothing.
I am convinced that the nuts and bolts story of how we got to this place in life matters a whole lot less than what we do with the circumstances we are faced with. Don’t get me wrong; there is value in self-examination (2nd Corinthians 13:5) . Self-examination and an honest assessment of our actions and reactions is the only thing that will keep us from repeating the same stupid mistakes over and over again.
It’s what we do when we don’t know what to do that determines our character and ultimately it’s our character that determines our destiny (please pardon the trite, overused platitude).
Again, I do not know everything there is to know about this or any other subject. However, I do have more experience than I care to admit with not knowing what to do in a particular situation (don’t ask). So today I want to share a few tips for maneuvering through the morass of what to do when you don’t know what to do.
Don’t get stuck in a muddle of misery and self-pity–
Personal blows such as a job loss, personal rejection, business failure, or a divorce are horrendous, life-altering, episodes that really do warrant a legitimate grieving process. It’s crucial that we allow ourselves be sad or angry when we experience a big hurt or loss, it’s also crucial we don’t get stuck in feelings of sadness or self-pity. At some point we have to heal from the hurt, take risks again and find a new normal (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
Do something good–
Anytime we make a big mistake or suffer through a hurtful situation it’s tempting to isolate ourselves and just kind of wait around for circumstances to change and for good things to come our way. Sadly, good things rarely just happen. Good things typically transpire because we are doing good things (Ephesians 2:10, Galatians 6:7). So turn off the phone, laptop and T.V and and go interact with humanity. Volunteer in a soup kitchen, get to know a lonely neighbor, or help out at your church. It may not change your circumstances but it will make you feel better about life (Matthew 6:12).
Don’t blame God–
Trust me, it’s not His fault. He is in fact, the one who cares most about you and your situation (Psalm 40:1, 1st Peter 1:3-9). You need Him now more than ever.
Forgive the jerks that hurt you–
Lack of forgiveness keeps us trapped in a never-ending cycle of bitterness that makes it almost impossible to see a way out of our current circumstances. The only way to break the cycle is to let go of resentments and forgive (Acts 3:19, Matthew 6:12-15). Forgiveness is beautiful because it frees us up to see the future that God has prepared for us.
There is one other thing I am staunchly persuaded is true. I am sure God never allows anything, no matter how painful or futile it may feel to us, into our life without a greater purpose (Romans 8: 18, Romans 8:28, Philippians 2:13 ). Sometimes when we don’t know what to do, God just wants us to take a little time get to know Him better. When that task is accomplished, then He will show us what to do.