Have you ever been completely bewildered? Emotionally, spiritually, or relationally numb? Wondering where you are in life, how you got there, where God went, and what to do next? Are you there now? You’re not alone, but you are vulnerable.
Life’s biggest mistakes are often made right where you are right now. SO… before you do the wrong thing, stop, take a breath, and consider these thoughts:
1. God has not forgotten you. Wonder where He is? Think you ran far from Him? He’s right there, and He knows exactly where you are. Turn to Him and wait upon Him.
2. God works in the silence. Often in His Word, He is working when men doubted Him the most. Think about Joseph in jail, Jonah in the fish, John the Baptist on the guillotine, Elijah in exhaustion, David in hiding, Paul in prison, or Jesus in the tomb. God works when it seems like nothing is happening. Just wait.
3. God brings blessings from bewilderment. When we refuse to let go of Him, no matter how hopeless we feel, that expresses a special kind of faith that He always blesses. Your thorn is a blessing, and God will someday use it in ways you cannot imagine right now.
4. God is using even your bewilderment in ways you cannot know yet. Someday you will look back on how you feel right now and thank God for what He did, what He taught you, or how He somehow made it all worth it.
5. God strengthens us through testing times. Future blessings require you to have broader shoulders. God may be exercising your faith to strengthen you for His future plans.
6. God blesses us on the other side of testing times. It’s what He does. He rewards faith. He honors them that honor Him. He tests, then He blesses. Don’t give up before the blessing.
7. God is going to give you the grace you need right now. You may feel overwhelmed, but stop for a moment. Wherever this post finds you—just pause. You are alive. You are saved (if you know Christ). You are able to praise. You are able to cry out to Him. You have hope. Right now, you are experiencing grace. And as long as you look to Him, He will keep giving you the grace you need when you need it.
8. God is with you whether you sense Him or not. He is not a feeling or emotional experience. He is. He is truth. He is absolute. He is with you right now and always will be. Rest in Him. Accept His presence. Be still and know that He is God.
9. God is rejoicing over you, not angry at you. You feel like you’ve let God down? You think He’s probably really put out with you. You’re wrong. If you are in Christ, you are in grace—you are COMPLETE in Him. God crucified His Son so He could rejoice over you! Accept it. It’s true.
10. God will get you through. When isn’t the issue. How isn’t the issue. In His time and His way—He will. He will! Don’t quit, give up, or do something self-destructive. He will get you through!
And here are a few things to do—while you wait on God to know “what to do next.”
1. Remember that emotions are liars—feelings change rapidly. They are too dependent on our physiological chemistry, our diet, our rest patterns, our environment (like even weather!), and our circumstances. Don’t trust feelings! They only occasionally tell the truth.
2. Hold on to truth over emotions—Truth makes us free. Emotions deceive us. Go to God’s Word and tie yourself off, like a guy tying off to a pillar in a hurricane. Anchor yourself to what God says is absolute and true.
3. Listen to God over emotions—Let your emotions howl. Let feelings rage like a midnight thunder storm. Through it all, God’s still small voice will keep you in a fixed, safe position. The storm will pass. Eventually your emotions will come back into line with truth—and then you will be really glad you didn’t let them lead!
4. Think beyond your emotions—Do you remember a day you didn’t feel the way you do now? Even so, another day will come and you will look back on today, glad the feelings are gone. But the decisions you make today will follow you. Think beyond today’s emotions to the long-lasting, devastating impact that wrong decisions will leave. Long after the emotions are gone, the horrific consequences of bad decisions will continue to unfold.
5. Speak out to God—God responds to audible requests for His help! Open your mouth, lift your voice, and talk out loud to Him. I know—it feels weird, but it’s a biblical reality that God responds to this kind of flagrant faith!
6. Speak truth to yourself—You believe yourself more than anyone else, so talk truth to yourself. Speak God’s Word to yourself. Overpower the internal negative conversation with external truthful conversation. Shout your emotions down with truth!
7. Surround yourself with stability—Resist the impulse to isolate yourself. Get around people who will love you, pray with you, and help you keep your head above water until the emotional flood subsides.
8. Open up to Christian friends—Let those who love you minister to you. Trust them. Let God use others to salve you and guide you until you regain your bearings in life.
9. Patiently endure—The Bible has a lot to say about enduring. It is God’s call for us to sometimes just endure—to patiently, faithfully hold onto Him until He stems the tide of trial. He builds and blesses those who endure.
10. If you have exhausted spiritual pursuits, don’t rule out professional medical evaluation—I know this one seems out of left field, but many Christians never want to connect any physiological factor to deep or prolonged emotional struggles. This is unwise. Sometimes emotional despair can be verifiably tied to legitimate physiological conditions, and in those cases, medical solutions can prove helpful.
Spiritually numb? Feeling in a fog? Don’t do something that you will regret once the fog has lifted and truth reveals itself afresh in your heart.
“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” 1 John 3:20