I’ll never forget adjusting to life with a newborn baby. Our lives were completely upside-down.
That first week we attempted to load up our new little family and head to my parents’ house for dinner. We bundled up our little one, buckled her in the car seat, only to hear the sounds of a diaper being dirtied.
“How cute,” we thought. We quickly changed her, put on a clean outfit, bundled her up, buckled her in the car seat, and you guessed it… another explosive mess!
It wasn’t as cute this time. We were running behind schedule, so we frantically changed the diaper, put on a third outfit, bundled her up, buckled her in the car seat, when, God as my witness, it happened a third time.
That evening my wife and I laid in bed crying and saying things like, “What are we going to do? We can’t even leave our house!”
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? We’ve all felt a sense of helplessness at times.
What do you do when you have no control over your job situation? The doctor’s report? Your spouse? Your kids? What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
Experts tell us that when you’re in a situation you can’t control, focus on what you can control. Here’s three things you can do when you don’t know what to do:
Pray first. Sure, we should do more than pray, but we shouldn’t do anything else until we pray. Prayer should always be a first response, not a last resort.
Why? A few reasons. First of all, prayer shows dependence on God. Our natural inclination is to do things on our own. We’re fighters and fixers. We think we can get through it alone. When we pray, it is declaring that we need God.
Second, prayer lightens our load. The cares of life weigh us down. They’re heavy and burdensome. Jesus said to cast all our cares onto him. Why should we carry all of the stress, worry, frustration, hurt and pain when Jesus said he would carry those things for us?
Finally, prayer releases God’s power. In Jeremiah 33 the Lord said, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
Prayer can accomplish whatever God can do … and He can do a lot.
Obey. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but if all we ever do is pray and we don’t obey, nothing is going to happen.
When we pray, God whispers to our hearts what our part is to do. Our job is to do it.
We can pray for our marriage, but if we don’t treat our spouse with love and respect, nothing will change. We can pray for our kids’ behavior, but if we keep getting angry instead of getting intentional, nothing will change.
We can pray for our finances, but if we continue to swipe the credit card and ignore God’s call to live generously, nothing will change. We can pray for our addictions to go away, but if we continue to run with the same crowd, nothing will change.
I think you get the point. Pray first, then obey.
Praise. Did you know praise can be a problem for your problem? I don’t know what your problem is, but I do know praise can make an impact on that problem.
I love the story of Paul and Silas locked in a dungeon cell. In the middle of the night, they began to sing songs of praise to the Lord. Suddenly, the ground began to shake, their shackles fell off, and the prison doors opened wide. Their praise made an impact on their situation.
Sometimes when the night is at its darkest, your praise needs to be at its loudest. King David said, “I will bless the Lord at all times… ” (Psalm 34:1). That means regardless of our circumstance, we must choose to praise the Lord. He is still worthy.
These three steps are not a guarantee that your situation will change. However, I can promise you that if you do these three things, you will be changed.
Adam Detamore (@adetamore on Twitter) is pastor of Realife Church in Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.