Have you ever found yourself in a place where you know something has to change but you aren’t sure what next step to take? Have you stayed in a place out of a sense of obligation when you know something isn’t right? Have you wondered if it is time to move on yet you feel trapped or you fear the change?
I think we all have these struggles from time to time. Change is a choice. We can choose to stay in the uncomfortable zone and ‘suffer through’ it or we can choose to ask for help to discern which next step to take. For me, this decision starts with prayer and asking others to pray with me so that I can get out of my head and away from emotions that might influence my decision to stay or to bolt.
I have found myself in those tough decision times a number of times recently. I am one of those stubborn people who holds on, usually out of that sense of obligation, until the pain becomes almost unbearable. I often hang on because I’m not sure if God is saying: “stay, there is work to be done”or if I am waiting for a lighting bolt revelation that shows me what lies ahead.
The truth is, we will seldom have that brilliant ah-ha moment with the well-lit path forward. I have found more of the – ohhhh, I need to let go and step forward in faith – moment. And since I am stubborn, I usually sit tight as I just let go and let God take control of closing the door so that I have no choice but to move forward.
This most frequently occurs with work or with ministries in which I am involved. I will begin to realize that something isn’t right in my current situation. It might be that I don’t think I fit in. It might be that I have nothing more to contribute. Other times I become frustrated that things are perhaps not as they should be, perhaps from an ethical or moral perspective. Most frequently I feel “stuck” or “trapped” and my fight or flight sensor is triggered.
My first move is to turn to prayer, asking for understanding of my role in the situation. I ask how to change my behavior or response. It starts with me – not the other people in the situation. Show me, change me.
And then I ask others to pray with me. I am also fortunate to have a coach and a spiritual director to turn to for help in discerning God’s will in the situation. It is impossible for me to get out of my own way without prayer and the wisdom and guidance of others.
I look to others, not for them to make a decision for me but as a way to see the situation more clearly. I ask others to pray with me because I believe what Jesus said: “where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am with them.” (Matthew 18:20) I believe that when I prayerfully seek answers, they will be found:
“Ask, and what you are asking for will be given to you. Look, and what you are looking for you will find. Knock, and the door you are knocking on will be opened to you. Everyone who asks receives what he asks for. Everyone who looks finds what he is looking for. Everyone who knocks has the door opened to him.” (Matthew 7: 7-8)
If you are swimming in rough waters and you don’t know if you should stay or you should go; you don’t know if this is where you are called to serve or if God is calling you out to serve elsewhere; start with prayer. Share your struggle and ask others to pray with you Speak with someone whose wisdom you trust to help you hear God’s quiet (or loud) voice about your situation.
And then be willing to have the door slammed shut or one to swing open wide. BE WILLING to act on what you hear. I promise that you will soon know that the decision is from above and not of your own making. And I promise you peace!