Maybe you’re like me. Always a bit restless, daydreaming about what’s going to happen next. I’m that person who skips to the end of a book to read the last page before I’ve even finished the first chapter. I fast forward the beginnings of movies and shows because I just want to get to the important stuff. I want to know if there’s a happy ending or a lesson to be learned, if there will be drama or something scary ahead. I’m impatient, and I know it and I’m working on it.
These last few months have given me a chance to appreciate the beauty of the story instead of rushing to the end. I’m starting to realize that beginnings and messy middles are what make the endings that much more special.
But, I still feel stuck sometimes. Stuck in the waiting room of life. Trusting that God has something good around the corner, but also wondering when is it going to happen for me? How long will I have to wait? Am I doing enough now? Should I be doing something differently?
I’m constantly striving to want to do more, but in my striving, I still wonder if I’m missing something. God gently reminded me that when we are continually trying to take control of our life, it leaves little room for His will to be done. Restlessness reveals a deeper root. It perpetuates the idea that if I do enough, pray enough, fast enough, give enough, then, essentially, I won’t need faith. I won’t need trust. I won’t need hope. I’ll be set because I’m relying on me and all that I can do.
God doesn’t want us to live that way. He wants us to live intentionally dependent on Him. Slowing down enough to hear His whispers and to see His fingerprints on the fragments of our life. There is a reason throughout Scripture we see God reminding us to be still, wait and rest. In seasons of waiting, we’re tempted to wander and work to get ahead. But in the end, our feeble attempts leave us feeling fractured.
There’s a better way. When we feel anxious or unsure, there are four steps we can take to get back on track.
We all know self-care is trending right now and my social worker heart is here for it. But it’s important to remember at the core of self-care is a critical truth. We need to purposefully set aside time for our minds, hearts and souls to recharge. Because if we don’t, our emotional, spiritual and physical health will bear the burden.
Our natural inclination is toward busyness. We feel a need to fill every second of every moment with doing something. It’s why we all constantly check our phones and social media whenever we have a moment of down time. But if we’re constantly “doing”, we leave little time to dial into the heart of God.
God asks us to be still because stillness creates space for God to speak (Psalms 46:10; Exodus 14:14; Psalms 37:7; Isaiah 40:31; Psalms 62:5).
Carve out some time for stillness. Quiet your heart and your mind and listen.
When we set aside time to rest, it opens up the door for reflection. When we are unsure of what’s next, there are a few questions we can ask ourselves.
First, what can I learn from this season of life?
Oftentimes when we’re desperate to start a new chapter, we forget to see the purpose behind our present page. None of what you are going through is a surprise to God. You are exactly where you are meant to be. How are you growing? What skills are you developing? What type of character building is happening? How is your faith changing? Who are the people God has placed in your path? What friendships are shifting?
So often we focus on what we don’t have, we forget to widen our lens and see all that God is doing around us.
Remember that this season has purpose. Choose to focus on the growth that is happening in the present over the uncertainty you feel for the future.
Second, what emotions am I feeling?
Our emotions can be our greatest friend or our worst enemy. But no matter what character they are playing today, friend or foe, they always reveal what is at the core of our foundation. Take time to ask yourself, what is this emotion telling me?
Is my sadness based on loneliness or fear? Is my anger rooted in insecurity or anxiety? Does my apathy stem from hopelessness or confusion?
No matter what you face, we have the ability to examine our own thoughts and listen to the thoughts of God. His spirit is in us and we can know His truths and His truths can set us free from anxiety’s grip (1 Corinthians 2:10-12; John 8:32).
Whenever anyone says the word remember my mind almost always says it in Mufasa’s voice from The Lion King. Mufasa dropped some deep wisdom though: “Remember who you are. Look inside yourself … you are more than what you have become. Remember who you are.”
You are not defined by this season of life or any wrong turn you feel like you’ve made. This moment is simply a speck in the span of your life. We must remember who we are and more importantly whose we are. We are part of God’s family and He does not make mistakes. Remember His faithfulness through past seasons of your life. Remember how He brought you out of the mud and mess and placed you on firm footing. Remember how He provided for you. Remember how He blessed you with peace. Remember.
When we look back on our life and see God has never failed us, it fills our heart with a renewed faith for things to come. We can trust He will provide for our future just as He has provided for our past.
I find that gratitude is often the first place to start when I’m searching for peace or clarity. Gratitude offers me a chance to put on a set of God-focused glasses, shifting my perspective to what He is doing over what I feel is missing. Thankfulness transforms our thought life and offers us a chance to see with new eyes. No moment is wasted from God’s perspective. We must remind ourselves of this truth daily. Refocusing and posturing our heart to see our life through God’s eyes can lift the weight of “not enough” and replace it with the embrace of “fully loved.”
Life can feel like a maze sometimes. We turn the corner expecting a clear path and we are met with more chaos. But God promises to never leave us without a road map. When we feel unsure about the road ahead, we can rest on this promise:
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Psalms 119:105 NLT).
When you don’t know what to do, trust in the One who does. Don’t lose hope. Rest. Reflect. Remember. Refocus.
I can’t promise that your season will change, but I have faith for both of us that your perspective will.