The short answer? You can’t be. How’s that for an encouraging start?! I wish that there was a way we could be completely sure that the next step we’re taking is the right one or that the decision we’re making is going to lead to success. The reality is that life has no guarantees. There is no way to see the future and know without a shadow of a doubt.
If you’re anything like me, knowing that there is no way to know can lead to crippling indecision when it comes to making big life choices or even small ones at times. I tie myself up in knots trying to work out every possibility and foresee every possible outcome. Exhausting! Maybe that is why God has had me on this journey of having to make big decisions every year for the past few years. I have had to overcome this paralysis; sometimes more successfully than at others! Part of this process has been learning to face uncertainty with certainty. (Stay tuned for more on that to come on another day.)
I intentionally wrote this post after the one about how I know I’m hearing from God. For me, being certain enough to take a step into something new is intricately linked with prayer and hearing from Him. I wish I could say that I always have great big signposts laid out and the way forward is crystal clear. In fact, I have been working through a decision for several months now with no clear next step and have had to sit in this place of uncertainty with it. I do get indications and can choose to act on those.
Have you heard the saying that you can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving? That comes to mind often for me. When I don’t have a big clear answer but have indications on a way forward, I am learning to take small tentative steps (and sometimes giant leaps with my stomach churning) and keep listening all the way. There will be times that a door closes in my face and I need to change paths. I also know that you eventually reach a place where you turn back and see how all those small steps have added up to this amazing journey forward that you would have missed if you had never taken that first step forward.
I wonder if I get so focused on finding the exact one thing that is the next right step when the reality is that many choices open to me would be equally as good and beneficial. Of course, some choices would not be beneficial long term but that usually isn’t what I struggle with. It is usually a choice between many good options. Maybe the encouragement you need to hear today is that it is ok not to know what new thing is the best. Maybe you need to hear that you need to take a chance even if you aren’t certain, even if it is just one small step in that new direction.
This post is part of a series for Write 31 Days called “For Your Encouragement.” I am taking requests from readers on what they want encouragement about and responding to the best of my ability. I would love to hear from you.
You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.