Do The Work
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? How do you move forward when you feel stuck or overwhelmed? How do you regain focus when your mind feels like it is spinning a hundred miles an hour?
I don’t really expect an answer to these questions, but I’m guessing that if you are anything like me, you have undoubtably asked them. You may have even asked these with the desperation of a person who feels like they just can’t go on! Truthfully, much of life is spent unsure of what to do next. We want to have the right thoughts and take the right actions, but if we are honest, we don’t know how to do either!
My response when feeling this way is often one of, “wait and see.” I won’t do anything until the next step is clear and I know exactly what to do. This inevitably leads to inaction and increased anxiety, but waiting can often FEEL like doing something. So I wait. Or wait and pray. I pray asking God to clear away the confusion so that I will know what to do next. But still, there is very little action. The benefit of praying while I wait is that I can blame God when I don’t know what to do. “He just hasn’t shown me yet!”
Perhaps you can relate. You know exactly what it’s like to tell God that you will start moving as soon as He places the right thoughts in your head. Like me you are confident that the best thing you can do is nothing and that if God wants you to do more, He needs to let you know.
Not long ago I was in the process of making some decisions that would impact my future and that of my family when I become increasingly anxious about the unanswered questions. I didn’t feel like I had all of the information I needed and decided the best thing I could do was nothing. I would wait. But then the anxiety over not knowing what to do became the anxiety over doing nothing. I spiritualized this process by believing that I was just waiting on the Lord but I knew that trusting God should not feel so desperate!
Funny how we like to talk about “Waiting on the Lord (Psalm 27:14), but overlook all of the times we are told to take action while waiting. We somehow believe that “waiting” and “having faith” means that we are sitting somewhere hoping that God will force us to take the next step. I think this is why we have so much anxiety: we are not “waiting” the way that God wants us to “wait”.
Look at a few action verses in the Bible:
Psalm 37:3-4: Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
John 15:4: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
We could go to several other passages of scripture, but I think you get the point. Waiting on the Lord, trusting in Him, and having faith does not mean that we sit still. It means that we move forward doing what we know to do right now while allowing God to direct our steps. Even the verse that we have looked at so many times before in Hebrews 12:1 tells us to, “run with patience.” The answer to all of the questions we started with?
Do the Work!
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Do the work!
How do you move forward when you feel stuck or overwhelmed? Do the work!
How do you regain focus when your mind feels like it is spinning a hundred miles an hour? Do the work!
And you don’t, and shouldn’t, take my word for it. As I was having the same thought we all have I came across this verse in Proverbs 16:3:
Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
As hard as life can be, it is also really simple. We spend so much time worrying about what we don’t know that we fail to appreciate what we do! You are not responsible for an uncertain future, but you are responsible to do what you can right now. And the great thing about that? God will give you the thoughts and show you the way forward. But only if you are already moving. So, when you don’t know what to do, do what you know. Take the step in front of you and let God show you the one after that. Do the work and God will “establish your thoughts.”
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash