Would you rather be married or would you rather be single? Do you want to start dating now or do you want to wait until you finish your educational goals? Do you want to keep the career you have or do you want to try something new? Should you keep attending your home church or is God calling you somewhere else?
Life presents so many questions that are not so easy to answer. When there is not a biblical right or wrong way forward, it often comes down to what we want and what we feel God is leading us to do as individuals. But what should you do when you are conflicted inside about your options?
Perhaps you see the value of being single but another part of you would really enjoy sharing life with someone. Perhaps you would like to just focus on your career and educational goals but you also feel like it is risky to let these prime dating years slip by. Or perhaps you really love the people at your church but you also don’t feel like you are able to serve there like you really want to?
If you are unsure of what you want in a certain area of your life, here are 5 steps to take.
Focus More on What You Do Know Than What You Don’t Know
Humans have a tendency to focus their attention on their greatest fears. You can always know what you fear the most by examining what you focus on the most. Where is your attention at? Where do your thoughts wonder to when you have time to think?
Naturally we end up focusing on what we don’t know because humans fear the unknown. While this is natural, it is not always healthy. Therefore you have to intentionally focus more on what you do know rather than letting your mind naturally drift towards what you don’t know.
Throughout Scripture we are taught that while our minds can drift, we also have the power to choose what we will think about. For example, in Colossians 3:2 it states, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” This is choice.
While you may not know what you want in a certain area of your life, there are always things you do know about your life. Therefore you must make the choice to focus more on what you do know rather than wasting too much mental energy on all the things you don’t know.
Do What You Feel Most at Peace About When You Pray to God About It
One common reason people often get stuck at a crossroads in life is because they do not feel like they have absolute clarity on what God wants them to do. We want to know exactly, without fail, what God wants. The problem, however, is that most decisions in life are not accompanied by such divine clarity.
Issues of sin and obedience are obvious because these decisions are clearly spelled out in the word of God in clear words. However, when it comes to personal life decisions, this divine clarity is often not present.
So what does God want us to do? How should we proceed forward when we don’t know what we want in life? One way you can learn what God wants from you is by paying attention to what you feel more at peace about when you pray to God about two options.
Present both options to God. Think and pray about one option. And then think and pray about the other option. While you try out each option before the Lord, pay attention to how you feel in your heart. Which option do you feel most at peace about in these moments of prayer?
Usually that is the option God wants you to take. Consult the word of God and use wisdom, but do not neglect the impressions of peace that the Holy Spirit is placing on your heart as a way to guide you forward.
Verbally Express Your Thoughts, Confusions, and Desires to a Good Listener Who Asks Good Questions
Another important step to take when you are unsure of what you want in life is to talk about this with a good friend. The key, however, is to find someone who is not too eager to solve your problem but is willing to listen and reflect with you as you verbalize the feelings in your heart.
One of the main benefits of talking with someone is not the advice they share, although this can be helpful too, but rather the act of verbalizing how you feel. When you do this you often clarify what you want. When you say things out loud to someone you will often realize that you already have the answer you seek you just needed to lift it out of all the other emotions and thoughts that were hiding it inside of you.
As Proverbs 20:5 states, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” This act of drawing things out of the heart is often accomplished through good listening. When someone can really listen to you, this will also then help them offer insightful counsel too.
These types of people are hard to find. It’s ideal when you have natural friends and mentors in the church with these skills, but when none are present it is wise to seek the help of a good counselor who can listen and offer wise advice.
Pray and Be Patient, Trusting that God Will Reveal His Will in His Timing
While there is nothing wrong with seeking answers to the unknowns of life, we must also accept our limited knowledge and foresight as mere mortals. If we knew everything about the future there would be no need for faith in God’s plan for us.
And so when you don’t know what you want in life, one key step is to be patient, knowing that over time God will make his will clear to you. Patience is the Christians’ ability to put aside worry over the unknowns in the future and trust God in the present.
You don’t need to fear that you will never find answers to these important questions you have. But you must also accept that you might not get those answers in the timing you want. Be patient and keep trusting God as you depend on him in a prayerful spirit.
Remember the Bigger Story of the Kingdom of God
Lastly, one of the best steps to take when you are getting confused about the details of your story is to remember the bigger story of God’s kingdom that you as a Christian are a part of.
While God is writing the pages of your life, those pages are ultimately in the book that is really all about God’s larger story of redemption and glory. So while you might be unsure of what you are supposed to do in certain areas of your life, you must remember that as a Christian you do know what the larger story is all about.
You are called to glorify God, to love God, to love people, and to advance his Kingdom by spreading the gospel in both word and deed. Don’t get so lost in the details that you lose focus of the main plot line.
So when you don’t know what to do, remember to always glorify God, because that is our ultimate purpose as Christians.