I went to bed last night looking forward to the week, determined and eager for the days ahead. I woke up this morning under a cloud of discouragement and fear.
How does this happen?
I don’t know. I slept well. I woke up and walked through my morning routine. I’ve worked hard. And yet I’ve not been able to shake this heaviness. The worry about the future. The discouragement.
I do know that we all have days like this. And when these days come, we have to fight to keep pushing forward. As much for myself, I’m writing out steps here to help combat the oppression that occasionally threatens to overwhelm us:
1. Do the next thing. Keep moving. Make a list and work through it. Even when “crawling back in bed” sounds so appealing, doing so will only serve to prolong the situation. If you don’t know what to do, be productive.
2. Embrace Joy. Choose joy. Joy is not happiness, it’s not dependent upon the circumstances of life-a new car, a good job, a stellar vacation. No, joy comes from acknowledging salvation. Psalm 51: 12 says “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” If you don’t know what to do, ask God to restore the joy of His salvation.
3. Serve. I really need to practice this. I tend to be tremendously introverted, to the point of being isolated. When I become this way, I lose out on one of the greatest callings God has placed on my life, (and yours, too!) and that is to serve. When I serve others, I get outside of myself. I see the larger picture of the world, beyond my petty problems. I learn when I serve. How do you serve? Simple. Find a need and meet it. Don’t make it more complicated than that. If you don’t know what to do, serve others.
4. Worship. God delights in our worship. Worship strips away all other peripheral issues and brings our focus, our souls, to the very throne of God. There we learn what is truly important. There we learn who we are in Christ. Take a few minutes to listen to this worship song by Tommy Walker titled, appropriately, When I Don’t Know What to Do. (lyrics and video at the bottom of this post). One line sings “When I don’t know what to do, I’ll speak Your praise.” If you don’t know what to do, worship Him.
5. Keep your eyes on God. Here’s the verse that I found myself back to this morning as I have fought for solid ground. The last half of 2nd Chronicles 20:12 reads “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” It’s easy to take our eyes off of God. The world demands much of our attention. We get caught up on what others think about us. We worry about our financial future. We think we have it all together. Or we realize we have nothing together. But this verse, with a hint of desperation, describes what our plea should daily be. If you don’t know what to do, place your eyes on God.