I was relaxing in a salt bath tonight, trying to focus my mind on some pretty heavy assigned-reading for school, when my thoughts drifted off to this year's coming fall. My youngest son will be turning one, and I’ve been contemplating going back to work after my temporary motherhood-hiatus-from-the-workforce. However, I’ve been unsure what “going back to work” will look like for me in this season. Should I try to do something with my new degree? Should I go back to teaching middle school? Maybe I should take a certification test to teach high school instead. Or perhaps I should just pick up something simple and part-time for a while.
My thought trail then led to this: oh! Maybe I should do an InstaPoll to see what people think I should do. (In the unlikely case you aren’t familiar, an "instapoll" is when one posts on their temporary “Instagram stories” and allows people to vote their opinion on a question, quick survey style.) That’s when my thought-train came to a quick halt.
If we’ve been Insta-friends for any amount of time, this is probably no surprise to you. I post polls asking people what I should do All. The. Time.
And if I’m not asking people on there, I’m calling my sister to ask what I should do. I’m texting my best friend. I’m asking my husband. Some days, I just can’t decide if we should go to the library or to the park. Some days, I can’t decide which yoga studio I should try in our new town. Some days, I just can’t figure out what will be my next step at all.
Clearly, being indecisive is a struggle of mine.
But if I look at our Divine Incarnate example, the One who first showed us what it’s like to be human and yet empowered by the Spirit, the One whose image we were made in, I see a very different approach. I can’t find in Scripture a time when Jesus didn’t know what to do and thus chose to turn to people to ask for guidance. Nope. Did He ask questions? Sure. Were they rhetorical? Yep.
When Jesus was pondering things, He went to the Father. He went to God.
When Jesus knew He was approaching the cross, we found Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, not asking around to see if others thought He was on the right path, but praying out confidently to Abba God.
And when He redeemed us to salvation in His name, He opened the pathway for us to do the same. We can go to God, not people, to navigate. After all, if it is our hope to live a life that is pleasing to God, it's important that we go to Him first. Otherwise, we are just living to please others, and that's an imprisoning and infinite cycle no one wants to spend their life on.
Now I am not discrediting Godly counsel. Proverbs reminds us time and time again of the importance of wise advice (vs. 11:14, 19:20, etc.). I’m just saying that unless you have an elitely biblical following (haha!), Instagram is probably just not the place to go for Godly counsel (preaching to myself here). Your single friend who is just as much of a hot mess as you are is probably not the person to go to for solid relationship advice. Your fellow shopaholic is probably not the person to go to seeking wisdom on how to break the spending obsession. Your friend who loves to party wild and reckless probably isn't the best person to go to for advice on living a sanctified life. You get the idea.
So, when thinking about the future and unsure of what to do, you and I can rest assured that if we bring our requests for guidance to God, He will make our paths straight (Philippians 4:6).
-> Go to God’s Word first. How blessed are we that in the Bible we have a written message from our Heavenly Creator meant to do just this, lead us in our lives with eternity on our hearts?
-> Go to God in prayer. Follow the model of Jesus. Make your requests, your doubts, your fears, your struggles, your ideas, your hopes, your dreams, your heart known to God.
-> Trust in who He is. Know that He works all things together for good and righteous glory.
And if you’re still feeling stuck, considering reading Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung. It’s the perfect quick read with a bold message to “unstuck” you and free you to move on in life, confident that God will open and close all the right doors.