What to Do When You Are Overwhelmed by Options
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | October 16, 2016
Many of us have stood on the brink of decision. We’ve all heard the analogy of the “fork in the road.” Having two equally good options can be intimidating, but what about when there seem to be endless options? Most of life is built on options: You can choose from multiple colleges, careers, mission trips and even people to date. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it all.
If you’re in a state of overwhelm as you face the future, take the following steps.
1. Step back.
When you’re too close to your own situation, the choices may seem bigger than they are. Take a step back and look at the big picture: What is God calling you to in this season? Which of these options will draw you nearer to His purpose for your life? Come back to the basics of who you are, why you’re here and what passions God has placed in your heart. These will guide you to God’s best.
2. Submit to the Lord.
Before stressing about the potential ahead, submit all your options to the Lord. Give Him the list of colleges. Pour out the job offers. Tell Him about the guys who’ve asked you out. Our faith is not separate from daily life; it is the lens through which we see our daily lives.
God alone has the wisdom we need to make a decision of eternal significance. It makes perfect sense to ask Him for help as you face these options! Submit your overwhelm to the Lord and allow Him to take your burden.
3. Make a list.
If you haven’t already, make a list of the options. This might be a list of the options you’re facing in multiple areas. Whatever the case, write down everything that’s spinning in your mind. Putting it on paper will help relieve that peripheral stress of “forgetting something.” I recommend adding this to your devotional time so you can pray over the list you’ve made!
4. Narrow down the options.
As you pray over your list, begin to eliminate options that don’t fit with your purpose, lead to peace or draw you nearer to the Lord. Sometimes this means the hardest option is God’s will; you’ll be sanctified by the difficulty. Other times the easier option is where God is calling you, because the hard thing is not always the holy choice!
God truly will answer your cry for wisdom, but you must be diligent to ask and willing to receive. This means listening for His Spirit and following the direction He gives. God speaks through His Word, through His Spirit in us, and even through people and circumstances in daily life. Be ready to hear from Him and wait on His guidance.
5. Pray for wisdom.
Wisdom is “knowledge applied.” It’s taking what we know about God, life and being a Christ-follower and applying what we know to our decisions. If you’re afraid to make a decision, don’t! Wait until you can rest in God’s wisdom for your life. God is not in a hurry. Your life is not being compared to your neighbor’s life.
Allow God to take this burden of overwhelm and trust Him with your options. He delights to answer your request for wisdom!
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)