Maybe you experienced a divorce after a 20+ year marriage, or maybe your spouse cheated on you, or maybe you lost an adult child, or maybe you don’t have a relationship with your parents and you need them, or maybe you recently got off drugs, or maybe you ran away from home, or maybe you fought with your best friend and you guys are no longer speaking to each other, or maybe you just lost your job, or maybe you received bad grades in college and was placed on academic probation, or maybe you were arrested for something you did not do, or maybe you find yourself in love with someone who is emotionally unavailable, or maybe you had a miscarriage, or maybe you lost a spouse to death, maybe life just hasn’t been fair. Whatever your circumstances are, you can recover!

Your “What To Do Next” will depend on many factors, but in general, you want to follow these steps:

  1. Pray and ask God for His forgiveness
  2. Forgive yourself
  3. Forgive the other parties involved
  4. Brainstorm ideas of how you want life to look at this point
  5. Keep in mind the way you eat an elephant is one bite at a time
  6. Be patience
  7. Be realistic
  8. Set timeframes
  9. Take action
  10. Evaluate your progress

The Bible tells us in Matthew 7:7 (ESV) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer”, says Matthew 21:22 (NIV).

It is amazing how we learn to trust God through our most difficult times. When the trials of life are upon us, we must grow closer to God to ensure our relationship with Him is not harmed. Can I share a part of my story with you? I was married for a number of years and through that marriage produced three beautiful children. Because I started my marriage so early, I did not have a full understanding of what marriage was about. I had not seem what is considered a good marriage except The Cleavers on the show Leave It To Beaver sitcom back in the early 1970’s. My family did not resemble The Cleavers at all. They had Ward Cleaver, the father, June Cleaver, the mother, and two sons Wally and the Beav. I was the product of an unwed couple who broke up shortly after my birth, so I was raised by a single mother. My family was my mother and I. Although she did her best raising me, I felt there was something missing. I grew up alone, no grandparents around to give the occasional hug or extended family to speak of except once a year during the Memorial Holiday weekend when we would travel over 300 miles round trip to visit her sister (my aunt) and the rest of the family. Needless to say, if you want to build a relationship with people visiting once a year is not the way to develop one. I felt as a young girl like an outcast. My entire family was so different then myself. If I wasn’t teased for “sounding white”, I was talked about for being too black in skin color. It was a very confusing time, yet this was my life. Now looking back I realize there was nothing wrong with me. It was the insecurities of those that took responsibility for creating the crack in my foundation. So here I am many, many years later wondering What To Do Next? If I can be honest, I ran into the “What To DO Next?” question many times in my life. Each time I came across an obstacle, I followed the rules above:

  1. Pray and ask God for His forgiveness

Prayer has always help with my pain. Asking God to forgive me for my part in my obstacles provided me with a sense of relief. The relief stemmed from knowing God will forgive me when I ask Him. According to Isaiah 55:7 NIV – “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

  1. Forgive yourself

Forgiving yourself is not always an easy task. It will depend on what the situation is, but this is a necessary part of the process. Forgiving yourself for your part in the situation. For example, if you had an abortion because you lack the support you deemed necessary or maybe because of who the father of your baby was or because the circumstances was not right. The Bible says in Daniel 4:7 “…Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.”

  1. Forgive the other parties involved

Forgiving others can be just as difficult as forgiving yourself until you realize that forgiveness is NOT for them, but for yourself and once you forgive, it doesn’t mean you need to go back to being best friends or even fellowshipping with them again. Forgiving people sets you free from bondage. It clears your mind, heart and soul. You will feel lighter in weight and confidence in God knowing that He is your vindicator. (Hebrews 10:30 ESV) “For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

  1. Brainstorm ideas of how you want life to look at this point

Brainstorm means to come up with several ways to solve your problem. Sometimes you may want to brainstorm with friends or alone. The benefits of including friends to assist you with this process are the ideas may have more variety or you may feel less alone. The benefits to conducting this brainstorming session alone may be your willingness to be completely honest with yourself. Whichever way you decide, there is no right or wrong way to brainstorm. Now grab a piece of paper and get started.

  1. Keep in mind the way you eat an elephant is one bite at a time

Take your time. It is not necessary to get everything done right now. If you put this added pressure on yourself, you could create unwarranted tension, anxiety and stress. Our life is not a race for the swift, but for the consistent, faithful and determined person.

  1. Be patience

As it states in Romans 8:28 NIV, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Knowing this, we need to rely on God’s direction and focus our attention on His Will for our lives. In Colossians 1:10-12 NIV …so that you may live a life worthy of The Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have full endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light…” Trust God for the outcome of your situation. He has you in the palm of his hands.

  1. Be realistic

Being realistic involves knowing your limitations, abilities, and areas of challenges coupled with knowing that whatever your shortcomings are, God has you covered.

  1. Set timeframes

The reason timeframes are necessary is because you want to be able to measure your progress. If you don’t set timeframes (whether you met them or not) you will have a difficult time measure your success. You need to see yourself moving in the direction in which you would like to travel. This will create a sense of strength and encourage you to keep moving towards your goal.

  1. Take action

Be sure to keep moving towards your goals. T.A.K.E. A.C.T.I.O.N

Take the first step!

And

Keep

Every

Attitude

Consistent

Throwing out

Idleness

Oppression

Negativity

 

  1. Evaluate your progress

Sit down and evaluate your progress. Meaning take a look at where you’re heading and decided if the actions you’ve taken will get you there. Often times, we get sidetracked or distracted from our purpose. When you evaluate your progress you are sure to not get sidetracked and if you do, you can quickly reset and change directions.

 

Now I can say God has me on a path of discovery and I am enjoying most of it. The parts I’m not enjoying are helping me to grow, so even though it’s a difficult walk sometimes, I love that God loves me enough to help me through it. I want to encourage you to begin your path of discovery. Many of us have some unresolved issues to deal with. The sooner we handle those hard to discuss topics, the sooner the healing process begins and The Lord is able to use us for His purpose. May God continue to bless you and your efforts to finding your solution to the What To Do Next? Question.