Have you ever found yourself in a spot where you just don’t know what to do?
Maybe you’ve come to the end of your proverbial rope and you’re left wanting. Or you feel like all your momentum has come to a halt. It’s left you feeling stranded and alone in the middle of the highway while others, who seemed to have figured it all out, fly past you on the road of life and faith, somehow knowing something you don’t.
Have you been there?
It can be a frustrating feeling, right?
I’ve been there once or twice (or a dozen times) in my life and have recently found myself there again. So I know that feeling first hand, and all too well. And something tells me I’m not alone. Thankfully I’m learning a few things along the way that are helping me to keep calm, stay positive and maintain a faith-filled perspective while I listen, wait and follow God’s leading.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying this now comes easy. In fact, each day is a daily discipline of trust and surrender. However, these principles are helping me stay grounded and focused as I choose to feed my faith rather than being swallowed by fear of the unknown.
1. When you can’t see forward, look backwards.
I imagine Joshua had one of these moments when Moses died. After all, Moses was ‘the man’. He was the one God chose to rescue the Israelites from the heavy hand of Pharaoh’s rule. He was a boy among a mass of Israeli refugees who fled Egypt. He grew up looking to, learning from and serving Moses as his aide. And now Moses is dead.
Can you imagine the thoughts, fears, concerns, worries and doubts that were running through his mind? (Not to mention the countless vocal concerns of others directed toward him?) I’m sure he had a moment when he didn’t know what to do.
But in that moment, God encourages him to remember.
After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I’m learning that when you can’t see forward, the best thing to do is to look backwards and remember. Remember who God is, what He has done and what He has promised He will do. Remember His commands, His goodness, His faithfulness, His deeds, His power of work, His never-ending love. Remember that you are His and He holds all things together.
“Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? 8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” 10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
By taking the time to stop, reflect and remember who God is and all He has done, you’re able to regain focus and a new perspective on your current situation. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is doable. One step at a time. Grounded in who He is, you’re able to replant your feet on His firm foundation and begin to move forward.
When you can’t see forward, look backwards.When you can’t see forward, look backwards. #walkingbyfaith Click To Tweet
2. When you don’t trust your thoughts, trust His Word.
I’ve become increasingly aware that the soil of uncertainty is the prime condition for doubt, disbelief and dismay to grow inside of us. And if we are not careful, we can begin to nurture and feed those thoughts in our heart. This then becomes the daily discipline of leaning into God and trusting His Word over your own thoughts, allowing His truth to be planted in your heart and mind.
I’m learning that the most successful people in life and faith, aren’t the ones who have discovered some hidden secret reserved for the spiritually elite but are those who commit daily to the simple, spiritual disciplines of leaning into God. Every day. Leaning into His truth found in His Word. Every day. Every. Day. Doing simple disciplines better than everyone else. Every day. Trusting in His Word and being planted in His truth. Every day.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
I know me. I know how easy it is for me to start believing my own thoughts about who I am and forget about who God says I am. I know how even one mistake or received offence can start a chain reaction of destructive thoughts and self-doubt. So when we can’t trust our own thoughts, we need to trust His Word and what He says about us.When you don’t trust your thoughts, trust His Word. #walkingbyfaith Click To Tweet
3. When you don’t know what to do, do what you can do.
There is a really great story in Exodus 14, let me paraphrase it for you.
Moses and the Israelites have fled Egypt and now find themselves trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army. As you can imagine, everyone is terrified, freaking out and not sure what to do. Can you blame them? I think I would be too. But being the spiritual leader that Moses is, he cries out to the people of Israel and says, “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm…the Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.”
I think this is a common approach that many of us take when found in a similar situation. We even use nifty little sayings like, “Let go and let God”. And at first glance, it sounds like the right response. I think Moses thought he was doing the right thing. But God quickly responds to Moses and says, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”
Translation: “Don’t just stand there, do something.”
Then God instructs Moses with a simple step; “Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea…” And with this faith-filled act of obedience, God divides the waters for His people to cross over on dry land.
I am learning that we can all do something. And at first glance, it may seem too simple, even silly. But our role in this relationship with God is faith and obedience; the results are in His court. I’m sure Moses felt a little silly waving his staff over the water. I’m sure those around him questioned what he was doing. I’m sure there were moments of uncertainty and even doubt. But Moses pushed all those feelings aside and did only what he could do. He raised his staff and stretched it out over the water.
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? You do what you can do. God may have only given you step one in the journey. And while you’re unsure of step two, three and eight, all you need to worry about is walking in faith and obedience to step one. The rest will come.
Paul, in his letter to the church in Philippi, explains it this way:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? You press on, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.When you don’t know what to do, do what you can do. #walkingbyfaith Click To Tweet