The True Secret to Discovering What We Are Supposed to Do Next

I used to call them my wasted years.

That season where I did nothing for anyone.

Not even myself.

I felt like I lived in circles. Doing the same thing I did the day before. And just thankful to get through it.

I was tired and life was hard.  I was stuck in a job I hated. Struggling in a broken marriage and the monotony of motherhood. I was always looking for the next “big thing” in my life, which usually meant a trip to Target alone, meandering around the store, buying things I didn’t need for a high that was temporary. Maybe you know these long, unappreciated days, too?

Now when I look back, I don’t see wasted time. I see fertile ground.

Because sometimes you have to get so sick of your life, your mess, your perspective, yourself, you risk it-step into the unknown-and say yes to God because you cannot keep living the same empty way.

But where do you start? I’ve talked a lot about saying yes lately and I hear this so often. “I know there’s a yes in me, but I don’t know what it is. I don’t know where to start.”

pushpin on map

This might sound too simple, too easy, but here’s the answer:

Do the last thing God told you to do.

When we left full time ministry, God provided my husband with a sales rep job. We knew it was from God. We knew it was His will. But we thought and hoped it would be a short season. He’s on his 11th year. And for many of those years, he’s dreamed of a different yes.

But sometimes our yes is continued faithfulness.

And faithfulness today–right where we are–always leads to the next yes.

And the next. And before we know it, we are standing at the door that opens to more.

How do we know what God is telling us to do? I’ve discovered that when an idea is for me, it’s probably by me. It benefits me in some way. But those little thoughts and desires and ideas to do something for someone else? Those are most likely from God. When I do them, I find Him in the middle of it.

The truth is, it’s not a secret at all to discover what God wants us to do next. Because really what we are talking about here is obedience. It’s not necessarily a big yes, although it could lead to that. It’s daily, faithful obedience to do whatever God tells you.

We find the next step in the Bible: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track,” Proverbs 3:5-7

Send that note. Take that meal. Hug that child. Serve that neighbor.

When you don’t know what to do next, do the thing that’s right in front of you today.

It will open the door to tomorrow and you just never know where it will lead.


Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Kristen,
    Just today, reading Scripture about breaking up our unplowed ground- I prayed -”Lord, where is my unplowed ground?” When I read about those days of yours being fertile ground, He began nudging. Thank you.

  2. 2

    Rachel says

    You’re right. Sometimes we have to spend time in the wilderness or in exile in order to be ready for His instructions.

  3. 3

    says

    Kristen,
    I’m only a few chapters into your book but I wanted to tell you I said “yes” yesterday after 18 months of saying “no.” I hit the publish button on my blog to let go of a dark secret. I cannot describe to you the freedom I felt in that moment. But you know it because you too shared your own hurts. You inspired me and because of that post yesterday, a friend confided in me about her husband’s struggle with depression and how she had just been praying that day for God to show her to share that pain. I shouldn’t be surprised, I know.
    Anyway, thank you for your “yes” and inspiring mine.

  4. 5

    says

    I needed to hear that. My husband and I feel called to Haiti but we’re not sure on the HOW of it. And it’s so hard to sit and wait for that answer. So we just keep praying and waiting. Thank you.

  5. 6

    says

    It’s like we’re sitting in midtown Houston talking over breakfast and I’m telling you the first part of this story (walking in circles – because ALL of that is me), and you are giving me a “God-answer”. Loved all of this! So so so applicable to my life right this minute, and I have some ideas already of how to serve others.

    Thanks for this! Thank you, Lord, for hearing my heart cry and answering me in the middle of my morning!

  6. 7

    Chris W says

    Thanks for this encouragement today. This is where I’ve been living the last 9 months (where my whole family has been living) and waiting is so difficult. I don’t feel like being patient, I don’t feel like waiting, I don’t feel like doing nothing….yet God says “wait patiently on Him.” In the meantime, I am lonely, frustrated and bored. But I CAN love my husband more, I CAN cherish my kids more and I CAN get more intimate with God while I “be patient.” Sometimes it’s in the obedience of that quiet that God will answer.

  7. 8

    says

    Kristen,

    I have two chapters left of Rhinestone Jesus and I don’t want it to end! My family and I are 27 days away from moving to Uganda to be missionaries there. We are so excited and scared at the same time. We are proof that a small ‘yes’ can bring you to places you never dreamed of! He’s given us a dream far bigger than we could have ever imagined! It’s been a process over about 2 years of just saying yes to things in front of us, those things have prepared us all along the way to equip us to move our family to Africa. I want to thank you for the encouragement that your book is giving me. I feel that your description of yourself as a young girl, mom and wife is so similar to me. I just live hearing that God uses regular people to do great things with Him if they just say yes. I struggle a bit from time to time because I feel so ordinary and that He couldn’t use me to do something big. I have to remind myself that that’s what He loves to do, if He used the very qualified then the glory wouldn’t go to Him! Thank you for such encouraging words!

  8. 9

    karen cole says

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog- todays blog really hit home for me and how I’m feeling as a stay at home mom wih now all three kids school age. Thank you for your words!

  9. 10

    Emily says

    This is so me right now! Overwhelmed by the sameness of daily living. Crazy, right? But I have begun to see it as fertile ground over the last month or so. Then today someone asked me to step into a new role. I haven’t said yes because it’s a big commitment but this post is definitely helping me focus my thinking. Thanks!

  10. 11

    Rachel says

    Sometimes we all need to keep walking and waiting and watching. The story of the Exodus out of Egypt is inspirational in these times.

  11. 12

    Linda says

    Love reading you blog posts and also the responses from your readers! It is so encouraging to know someone else thought the same thoughts and feels the same way as I do.

    Thank you for being brave enough to share.

  12. 13

    Vicki Scherer says

    Thanks for the post. My hubby left full time ministry in December last year and we are still waiting on the next chapter of life/employment and money coming in to what we feel Like is moving on. But we are really enjoying having this special family time andhaving him home during the day has made our relationship stronger and able to work harder in the next season. Although yesterday I’m not sure I could have written the last sentence. Thankyou for sharing this special post, for the wilderness dwellers of us out there lets team together and pray for new beginnings for each other.

  13. 14

    Renee says

    I’m finally getting this. I couple of months ago I went to a women’s event at a area church and the theme was “Saying yes to God”. I went into the event prayerful and with expectation that God was calling me to say “yes”. I was excited to see why He would reveal. At the end of that day, what I can way with us exactly what you speak of here in this post. It’s not the BIG thing I need to say “yes” too, that may come later, I don’t know. But I need to say “yes” to the little things in my life. Mainly for me, I need to say “yes” to loving my husband and speaking kindly even when I don’t feel like it and I need to be patient on my way to work and start the day with prayer.
    I know these revelations are not earth shattering but we all want the next BIG thing but God works wonders in the little things…it’s time to say YES!!!

  14. 15

    says

    I keep hoping and praying I can stop giving English lessons and just write full-time, but so far our budget has not allowed for that and I may have to do it again next year. I am praying that I won’t have to, but that I’ll be surrendered if I do.

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