Have you ever felt restless in your job, relationship or life, in general? Sometimes, you can get the feeling that you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you absolutely cannot stay where you are, but also have no clue about where, when or how to move next. Your options for the future are either overwhelmingly unlimited or breathtakingly few, if you have any at all.
To add to the confusion, you may also be wondering if your restlessness is a sure sign from God that things aren’t right or if it’s just you being impatient. You may be surprised, but these times of uncertainty are the perfect times to gain peace and clarity about God’s purpose for your life.
How do I know? Because when you’re at a crossroads with no confirmation of which way to turn or if you should even turn, you don’t have a choice but to sit still and make no decisions! Cluelessness is the biggest clue that you can get from God that you’re not supposed to move at all…at least not yet.
But this time of stillness is not the time to breakdown in panic or lay down in defeat. On the contrary, God instructs us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” Here are three steps to get still and to get clarity from God about what to do next.
1) Meditate. Stop what you’re doing, drown out all noise, get to a quiet place and just spend time communing with God, whether that’s in silent prayer or reading scriptures. By physically stopping yourself and breathing deeply, you will begin to feel more at peace and better able to receive what God has for you. But don’t get caught up in hearing an answer from God right away or by a certain deadline. Don’t even presume that what you’ll receive from God will be an answer in the way you’d like or expect to hear one. Just enjoy being in the calming, loving, peaceful presence of God. The more you communicate with God and the more you open yourself up to listening to what God has to say, the more certain you’ll be of what God is telling you to do and when God wants you to do it.
2) Remember. While you’re meditating on God’s word and spending time in His presence, you should remind yourself, not only of the amazing things God did for others you may have read about or know personally, remind yourself of who He’s already proven Himself to be in your life. When God says, “Be still and know that I am God,” that means sit still and remember who you’re dealing with. This is the God of this universe you’re talking to. This is the all-knowing, all-powerful being who knows your beginning, middle and end. This is the infinitely wise God who loves you unconditionally and desires to “prosper you and not to harm you…to give you hope and a future.” What do you have to fear when such a God walks beside you, even through the shadow of the valley of death? Be still and know who your God is!
3) Pour yourself out. Even in times of complete personal uncertainty, there are always some very specific things that we can be sure God wants us to do, for those around us and ourselves. At all times, God asks us to act with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Even if you’re in a situation that you absolutely hate–whether it’s a job or a city or a school–until God gives you the o.k. to move and directions as to where you’re going, give your time, energy and resources to where you currently are.
Do you have co-workers who can benefit from kind words or encouragement? Are there folks you run into during your commute who may need a meal, a few dollars or just a little bit of hope? Be on the lookout for ways that you can show love and kindness to the people and situations around you and pour yourself out when those opportunities present themselves. Not only will serving God bring joy and peace into your life, you’ll find yourself that much closer to God and therefore, that much closer to your purpose.
Brooke Obie is Editor-at-Large for EBONY.com and writes the column “The Spiritual Life.” Follow her on Twitter @BrookeObie.