Lately, in one of my jobs in life, being the person everybody calls when they don't know what else to do,(which I don't mind, by the way), I have noticed a definite trend. So many people are getting scared about a large variety of things, some real and close to home, some halfway imaginary and far away, that they are becoming absolutely stuck, and can't figure out what to do next (about almost everything).
Obviously, I have alot of solid Christian friends and relatives, but I also have a lot of non-Christian friends and relatives, and, quite frankly, the only difference I'm seeing between the two groups is a difference in rhetoric. One group gives me various degrees of "Life Sucks and then You Die."...The other is all about "God is good, God has a purpose in all this, God will see us through", etc. But neither group seems capable of figuring out the next move.
You know it is one thing to say the Christian words, and quite another to truly believe, deep down, that everything is going to be okay. The thing is, as much as I do believe, I have never personally experienced a situation where God just threw down money or handed me a job without my going out to look for one. (Not saying he wouldn't be capable of that, just saying it isn't the way he usually works on my behalf.)
So the question is, how does one get unstuck? How does one get over the fear of the unknown and figure out how to take the next step? How does one make that decision, especially if that next step is something scary, like letting your house go back to the bank so you can move on to the next stage of your life?
Since my son Sam never minds me talking about him (unlike a couple of his siblings), I'm going to use our recent interaction as an example. Sam has been stuck, stuck, stuck lately. He had a series of difficult situations to get through, battling cancer and then winding up bankrupt due to medical expenses, and he wound up broke and living at home, unemployed. He came very close to getting his dream job a few months ago, and when it didn't come through, he got into this rut that I'm seeing a lot of other folks in right now....a rut where it is much easier to just sit there and whine about the economy than it is to keep on trying.
The other day we had a talk about how to get out of a rut...in his case, I'm encouraging him to go back and start taking some college credits again, one class at a time..(He was close to his degree when everything started to hit the fan, and now would like to finally finish it...) In addition, he needs to just start handing out the resumes again...no matter how discouraging it may seem. The bottom line is, he has to do something, even if he isn't sure what that is! He will not find a job, or finish his degree, or find more friends, or ultimately create a family of his own, as long as he sits in this house having philosophical discussions with his mother!
In my work as an appraiser, I'm seeing many situations these days where people's lives have gone up in smoke, losing their homes to foreclosure. In many of these houses, you can just feel the anger...people who said to themselves (and I'm guessing to many other people!) ....Ok, you can take my house, but first I"m taking the stove and the dishwasher and all the ceiling fans, and I think I'll just make a few holes in the walls while I'm at it, and maybe I'll take all the copper piping and rip out the tile in the bathrooms....Then the other day I went into a foreclosed home and you could still feel the love in that home. The wallpaper on the children's rooms were still intact, the house had been carefully cleaned up when the family left, and the stove and the dishwasher were still in place. I don't know where that family is today, but I know that the attitude they had in the face of economic troubles will serve them well as they figure out the next step. And I'm willing to bet that God really will be with that family, and will not let them starve.
If you're having troubles, or feel like you're in a rut, just make up your mind to move beyond the "God is good" rhetoric and start really trusting him!!! Then wake up tomorrow and figure out one good thing to do to start moving in a better direction. As usual, I'm partly speaking to myself here. This morning, I had two good things to do...one was to write this blog, and the other was to clean up the patio area...a disgusting job for early on a Sunday morning, but one that had to be done, and now it makes me feel good. Instead of looking out on a winter's worth of debris, I'm looking out on a nice clean patio.
One of my favorite quotes is from an old Amish lady..."Do ye now next thing."....And then the next, and the next, and the next, and one day you will wake up and you will have gotten out of your rut and your difficult situation. Of course, life is a series of difficult situations, so part of the exercise is understanding that this is LIFE...and part of it is learning to have a good time in the midst of the difficulties. So, once again, RELAX...and don't just SAY you're trusting God, really trust God to show you what to do, one step at a time.