On Saturday night I went to bed at a decent time, with plans to get up on time the next morning. That might sound like common sense, but it’s not always — or even often — what I do. Most Sunday mornings start off late and get more stressful every minute between rolling out of bed and stumbling into church.
But this week I was determined to be different.
And it was — but not in the way I expected. Despite going to bed a little early, I lay in bed for hours, WIDE AWAKE. This is not normal for me at all. I have family and friends who fight insomnia on a regular basis, but if I’m good at one thing, it’s sleeping. Just not Saturday night.
In hindsight I think the large quantities of tea and a before-bed Diet Dr. Pepper are mostly to blame. But the myriad thoughts and questions swirling in my mind didn’t help. More than other recent seasons, this back-to-school time has brought with it an overwhelming number of decisions to make.
Do we lead a small group this session?
Do we start Adrienne in piano lessons?
Should I apply for that part-time job?
What should my next book be about?
These are big questions, you guys – and not issues that can be figured out overnight. Which is probably why, as I tried so hard to go to sleep (as if THAT ever works!) the other night, I focused instead on what my girls should be for Halloween and which pictures I want to hang in a gallery wall along our stairs. Important things, you know?
No, not at all, but much easier and more fun to think about when I feel like I’m drowning in questions!
On top of those questions, I’m also trying to figure out what to do now that both my kids are in school. Do I go back to work in the traditional sense? Do I go full-speed ahead with writing and speaking? Do I get a part-time job and keep writing part-time? Do I go back to school?
SO MANY QUESTIONS. And I feel like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz — flopping my arms around from one direction to another, twisting myself up into knots, forgetting that I actually have the tools I need to get answers and make decisions.
My nature is to research when I have a big decision to make, looking up all the information I can find about the topic at hand. From there I usually make a pros and cons chart, either mentally or literally. Some decisions feel so overwhelming and complicated that only the physical act of writing down the angles and considerations can help me sort things out.
But I know the best thing I can do is pray about it.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.
Just ask. I know that. I know that later in the book of James, it says “you do not have because you do not ask.” If I need wisdom, guidance, ANSWERS, then I simply need to ask for it.
So I am. I’m still researching and thinking and seeking the counsel of a few friends, but I’m praying that God will guide my decisions and make my paths straight.
Are you trying to figure out something right now? Do you have a big decision to make or a bunch of questions to answer? I feel you. And I know how tempting it is to dive into information-gathering and option-weighing and flip-flopping. But I pray you can also stop and ask for wisdom.
Don’t ask Pinterest. Don’t ask WebMD. Don’t ask your sister or your book club or even that super helpful Facebook group. Ask the Lord. Seek God. Just breathe in and ask for help. Breathe out and trust that He will answer. Take that breath, take a beat, take a moment to give God time to work in your heart.
Because He will. He promises to guide us, to direct our paths, to show us the way we should go. All we have to do is listen — to the still, small voice in our hearts; to the Scripture we read or the songs we hear; to the messages and Truth we find in unexpected places.
How do you find answers when you don’t know what to do?
A version of this post was originally posted in 2015.