The situation described in the title, What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do, is a common one for us all. Regardless of how together we like to present ourselves, we all experience times when we feel unsure about the right course of action. In this brief book Cloud and Townsend lay out eight basic principles for a life that is lived journeying with God.
Principle 1: Begin your journey with God – We are created to be dependent on God. Simply put, we need God.
Principle 2: Chose your traveling companions wisely – Community is an essential part of this journey. We need the influence of wise people to share their support, love, courage, wisdom, and experience.
Principle 3: Place high value on wisdom – Part of a journey with God is seeking wisdom in all things. Look for areas in your life where you lack wisdom, ask God for that wisdom and seek it earnestly.
Principle 4: Leave your baggage behind – We are all weighed down by past hurts and experiences. To experience healthy growth we need to acknowledge the pain, grieve it, accept forgiveness, forgive others, examine the patterns in our lives, and begin to see ourselves as the people God created us to be.
Principle 5: Own your faults and weaknesses – We need to be honest about our shortcomings. We need to stand against the temptation to play the role of victim in situations that are out of our control and be intentional about moving forward.
Principle 6: Embrace problems as gifts – Focus on the long-term health and growth rather than immediate pain. We all experience pain and challenges. Is our desire to just get through the pain, or do we seek to learn and grow in the midst of pain? We should seek to thrive in the midst of challenges, not just survive them.
Principle 7: Take life as it comes – Trust that growth and the spiritual journey is a process. There are no shortcuts.
Principle 8: Love God with all you are – The principles begin and end in relationship with God. Remain committed to God with every area of your life including pain, fear, and despair. Hold nothing back from him.
Are these principles basic or simple? They are, but they are not shallow. What I see in this book is a set of characteristics we would all do well to dive deeply into. We can all find places in our lives where we don’t value wisdom. Leaving our baggage behind is a lifelong process for most of us, and if we are honest, we all have an area or two in life that we hold back from God. These principles are ones that would be valuable to revisit often. Books like this can be used as a sort of regular assessment.
If you are so inclined, take a moment today to reflect on these questions.
- Do I view my whole life as a journey with God? Are there any spaces in my life that I attempt to do it on my own?
- Who am I traveling with? Do I have people who support and love me, people who share their courage, wisdom, and experience with me?
- In what areas of my life do I need to ask God for wisdom?
- To what baggage do I still hold tightly? Where do I need to accept forgiveness? Who do I need to forgive?
- What areas of my life need me to take a more intentional role? Have I given into the temptation to be the victim?
- Am I seeing pain and challenges as an opportunity for growth or a season to get through? Am I thriving or surviving?
- Am I willing to let God do his work on his time? Am I trying to take control of something that is God’s responsibility?
- What am I holding back from God today?