What to do When you Don’t Know What to Do

I ran into a 23-year-old friend the other day and asked how she was doing. “Being in your twenties is…awkward!” she answered.  “All these questions about what you’re going to do with your life…who you’ll be, where you’ll go…what to say ‘yes’ to.”

That same day I had coffee with a fifty-something friend who said her son is wrestling with some of the same unsettledness, and she herself is in a time of transition that has raised questions about God’s direction.  She said, “I thought by this age I’d have it figured out and be cruising along!”

24 hours earlier I had had dinner with a thirty-something friend who said, “My life looks a lot different now than I thought it would.”

Each person’s situation was different, but there was a common theme.  If I were God (a job that’s apparently already taken) I’d give detailed instructions like,

“Susan, I want you to move to 673 Elm St., Provo Utah,  join the Church-of-People-on-the-Right-Track, take the job with State Farm, (not General Mills), and order the tomato soup at Panera for lunch.”

And sometimes in the Bible God does that, like when God gives Ananias specific instructions (Acts 9:11) to go to the house of Judas on the street called Straight, (Love it!), but often it’s a bit fuzzier, like in Acts 15:28 where Paul writes, “It seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit…”

When I’m in seasons of discernment and transition, the three words that I feel like God often whispers to me are “Open your hands”

  • Open your hands…to release your plans in favor of God’s. Acknowledge your dreams, but don’t clutch them.  Release them to God to change, add, refine…
  • Open  your hands…to receive counsel from wise advisors who know you well, but don’t clutch it either.
  • Open your hands…to use what God has put in them, whether that seems like saying “yes” to dramatic invitations, or something that seems very small and quiet.  Respond to what God has put right in front of you.

That’s just me.  What has been helpful to you when making life decisions?  What have you sensed God whispering to you?

If you want some more thoughts on this, take a look at this post by Steven Furtick: http://www.stevenfurtick.com/personal-development/obedience-creates-opportunity/

2 Comments

  1. Sylvia A Bailey

    October 25, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    As I ponder your entry’s , I need to affirm the gift of listening that you give to those who God so graciously puts in your path.. He always knows those who need the gift of wisdom from someone who has walked the journey and can be vulnerable and listen w/out judgement. It is such a valuable ministry of love and grace.
    The last entry nudged me because we have our 21 year old grandson living with us who showed up in September from New York State needing a safe place . The questions are so similar ,with a flavor of uncertainty and “what am i going to do with my life?” Yes, being in your twenties is awkward .. Laura, you are giving these young lives a safe place.. It is grace!!!! That He alone will be glorified….

    • Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement Sylvia. I know you are someone who listens deeply and well and are so helpful to those in the process of discerning God’s next steps. So grateful for the privilege we both have of offering our gifts!

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