“I don’t know…” We say that often. Mostly because we really don’t want to give our opinion because it will be a shocker or we are tired of talking or we do not want to be held accountable if our advice makes life worse for someone. But occasionally we really really just don’t know. Everything is confusing, grey and murky. It’s like viewing the world through fog-covered glasses; you sorta know there’s something but you can’t really be sure either way. And if you’re like me then you get anxiety, panic attacks, migraines, irritable and you begin to question your very sanity, like actually begin to think you are mad. I once started speculating if I wasn’t even me, maybe I’d been drugged up and was being forced to say and do things through the power of suggestion and all this was to trick the people around me because I was the most gullible of them all and maybe we aren’t even really here but in someone’s imagination. Yeah.. I know, crazy but that should tell you the complete state of confusion I was in.
So as you can tell, I am a perfectionist and I am a control freak. I need to know that I know that I know that I can control the outcome and the fallout. I want everything planned down to the last detail and re-planned and planned for the 2% chance and then I need to make sure I can control how it turns out by controlling every step of the way. So confusion for me isn’t just a weird stage , it is a terrible and life-questioning stage. And yet I’ve been confused a lot, there are many things I didn’t know; what hair style to put, if they’ll like me, what is my purpose etc. And there are still some things I don’t know like where I’m going to end up in 10 years, how I’ll make a living, when I’m going to die and whether they really like me or are just tolerating me. The list goes on and on and I’m sure you have yours too. Maybe you’re at major crossroads; should I marry this guy, should I take that job, should I move to that place, or you’re just contemplating your day to day life. Maybe you have created problems in your head and you don’t know how to undo that. Maybe you are lost in a life of your own choosing. Maybe you just don’t know… Well, I wrote up the 5 things that I do when I don’t know what to do [paradoxical huh? :)] to deal with my confusing/mentally frustrating seasons in life and I’ll share them here and hope they help you
Stop and Breathe:
Really just stop. You don’t know whether to wear the blue or black dress? Stop running around in your room and breathe. You don’t know whether to change your major or not? Stop going to class and take a day to breathe. You don’t know whether to take the new job? Take a leave from your current one and breathe. Inhale,exhale. Just breathe. Stop running up and down and stop stressing out. Your mind works better with the right amount of oxygen and without the stress. The very first step in knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do is to stop moving and breathe. Be still. The rushing will do nothing but confuse you farther, add more information that you need to think about and kill your motivation to decide. You’ll get into the ‘que sera sera’ head space, whatever will be,will be. Rushing only makes room for mistakes.
Pray and Meditate:
Once you have stopped, cleared your head and added some much needed air into your lungs, then pray. There is no decision in your life that you can make without the guidance of the maker of the universe, none. There is nothing too trivial or too ginormous for God. And God is not a God of confusion. He works with order; he created the world in order, he came down to restore that order and even now he continues to fulfill his word in order. I can’t promise you that you will hear this or you will be answered immediately but I can promise that He WILL answer you and his promises are YES and AMEN and that you WILL hear a voice telling you” this is the way, go in it” Always ask God first because he knows. Meditate on his word and spend time actually internalizing it and speaking it into your life. Sometimes that so called “confusion” is really God’s way of alerting you that you are not spending enough time listening to him as you are listening to everyone else. “I don’t know what to do” can quickly turn into a testimony if you turn your confusion to prayer, praise and worship. Trust me God will never leave you hanging. Let go of the confusion by focusing your energy on finding a deeper connection with God.
Sometimes our confusion in knowing what to do stems from our confusion of who we are. “Should I change careers?” is more a “What is my purpose question?” so once you can answer the root question then you can much more easily answer the problem. Deciding where to live can be as easy as breaking down your tastes, budget and purpose and finding the place best suited for them. Learning yourself is a continuous process since we are constantly changing, growing and being influenced. The mistake we make is we think we can ‘figure ourselves out’ and then once we assume we have, we stop searching. But you are filled with God’s spirit which is complex and unfathomable on its own without adding inherent personality traits, opinions, influences and character. You can’t figure yourself but you can devote yourself to not only growing but keeping up with yourself. Who are you? What do you like? What are your talents? What are your dreams and aspirations? What comes naturally to you? What are your weaknesses, pet peeves,struggles? Where are you at in life? What is your priority right now? What things do you want? What do you think you can’t live without? What is your political view? etc Write all the answers for this down remembering that there is no right or wrong one. List as many things under each as possible and slowly you’ll see who you are emerge and you’ll probably figure out the answer to what’s confusing you and if not, you’ll narrow your options waaaay down.
Now I know that many pilots cause a plane crash and in the presence of many teachers little learning takes place but there is wisdom in seeking advice. Present your dilemma to someone you trust, who you consider wise and knowledgeable and who has gone through the stage before. Now you aren’t asking to make a decision exactly like the one they have but to see different view points and maybe even have something brought to you attention that you haven’t considered before. Talk to a mentor, pastor, discipler, parent or career coach. Skype someone who lives there or attend a seminar where someone has done what you think you might want to and listen to what they have to say. Google and read articles on the topic. Information is power and power gives you knowledge to make a decision. You might talk to a friend who knows someone who works in that company who tells you that they may look great on paper but your boss has had some sexual harassment cases, you may read that the degree you’re considering will be useless in 7 years, you may learn that that city isn’t as romantic as portrayed in the movies. Now it is important that through this process you use discernment and that is why pray was my number two point. Separate the gossip from the facts and the facts from the truth and write these down. Indecision is a battle best won with the weapon of information.
Occupy your mind:
The worst part about not knowing what to do is the cycle of overthinking and anxiety it creates. You get lost in the what ifs and in the worst case scenarios that play in your head and it drowns you. You think that if you take too long and not decide whether you’ll marry him then you’ll miss the chance and he’ll love someone else and you’ll remain forever alone and in regret. You’ll play out how you’ll be broke, living in the streets and eating dirt if you can’t choose between the two jobs. You’ll visualize your mediocre life as you take odd jobs trying to make ends meet because you didn’t make that business decision. Overthinking is a beast and the best way to avoid it is to occupy your mind with good things. Not guilty pleasures but good things. Read biographies of successful people, watch documentaries on great discoveries, work out, write new recipes, volunteer at church or at a children’s home, read the bible and discover the stories you never even knew. Feed your mind positivity, strength, motivation and information. Even as you take a breather to contemplate what to do, don’t let your mind wander but push it to focus on the task at hand.
All these should be done while you take a breather. Keeping on going while you’re in a great state of confusion is like pushing a car with dead battery; It can start, even go a couple more miles, hours,days but eventually it will completely shut down and you’ll have spoiled your starter too and thus have more to fix and take longer.
As you figure out what to do about your life,career,job, relationship or school, I hope you remember that all things are working for your good. So don’t stress, it gets clearer.
If this list helps clear things a bit for you, press that like button and even better, share this with someone else who needs direction(The share buttons are so beautifully arranged below) and make sure to click the follow button on the side.