When You Don’t Know What to Do: Finding Your Way Out of the Fog of Confusion

April 17, 2024

Joanna Teigen

This past weekend I glanced into the garage to see what Rob and our middle-schooler were up to. It was clear right away that Rob was raising his mini-me as they tackled a spring garage cleanup side-by-side. Those two love nothing more than bringing order to chaos, so what would be a tedious chore for me created a great afternoon for the two of them.

This cleaning job was just one case of how our son learns by our example. It’s how he learned to tie his shoes. Put away his laundry. Practice the piano. Weed the garden. Say “thank you” for his birthday presents. And it won’t be long before he leans on our experience by learning to drive or interviewing for his first job. The skills and knowledge we’ve gained over the years supply a source of help as he grows up.

That need for help doesn’t change once we’re adults and parents, does it? Lately Rob and I have been struggling with all the things we don’t know about life. We’re feeling especially unprepared for raising a neurodiverse teenager with trauma. Parenthood in this season often finds us discouraged and confused as we confront the shortfall of our experience and insight.

Maybe you, too, are feeling your way through the fog of confusion right now. 

  • You don’t know how to close the distance in your marriage.
  • You’re not sure how to climb out of the pit of debt.
  • It’s unclear how to break into a new career or ministry.
  • You can’t find the path to better health.
  • You’re wondering if you should sell the house or sit tight.
  • You’re at a loss for how to deal with your child’s failing grades.
  • You carry doubts about your faith, but you don’t know where to turn for answers.
  • You feel bound by fear or addiction, and you feel powerless to break free.

It’s in those times of confusion that we feel buried by painful emotions. We might carry shame and regret. We may be anxious or depressed. We might feel crushed by fatigue, or we might lose hope for tomorrow. Yet today there’s light in the darkness. In our confusion, we can look to the One whose eternal wisdom, knowledge, and love will show us the way.

Proverbs 3:5-6 holds a magnificent promise for those of us suffering confusion today:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

This scripture stands as a signpost pointing us to the peace and clarity we’re longing for.

Let’s look at two of the primary ways we can move forward when we don’t know what to do:

Leaning on God’s Understanding

Just like our kids can lean on us for help and advice, our Father in Heaven stands ready to guide our way. This Father is the God who created all things and knows all things. He is “mighty in power” and “his understanding has no limit” (Psalm 147:5). He is the author of every detail of human history. He knows the thoughts in each person’s mind and every motive in their hearts. He is perfect and unchanging, and His ways are higher and better than we can comprehend.

There is no question that will stump Him. No sin that will shock Him. No crisis that will frighten Him. No mistake or failure will sabotage His plans or weaken His authority. God is our one sure thing who will never leave us or cut us off from His goodness and love.

Since He is a God who is worthy of our trust, we can call on Him for whatever we need. I love His comforting words in James 1:5 that tell us there is no question too small or foolish to lift up in prayer:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Isn’t that good? When our wisdom taps out and we simply don’t know what to do, we can lean on God’s understanding. He’ll cut through the fog of our confusion and guide our way.

Leaning on Others’ Understanding

A season of confusion is not the time to go it alone. One way that God answers our prayers for wisdom is through the example and advice of others.

One way God met us in our confusion recently was through a wonderful guest we interviewed for our podcast. God provided this guest who “happened” to be the founder of an organization serving adoptive parents. After that recording session, she connected us with a fantastic parent coach with expertise in families just like ours. God is providing His wisdom and counsel through our parent coach—and we’re seeing positive changes already!

God’s Word makes it plain that this is how it’s supposed to be. A trip through the book of Proverbs finds verse after verse about the power of good advice to give us security and success. The family of God is designed to hold us accountable when we feel tempted toward poor choices that will spiral us into deeper confusion. Other believers can boost our faith when we’re doubting, and they can comfort our pain. Mature Christians can testify to answered prayers and how the Word got them through their own hard times. By inviting others into our lives, God can speak and guide.

So for you, what might be the lifeline you can grab hold of today? Perhaps a daily reading of the Bible would help you hear God’s voice. Or some teaching and encouragement for your marriage. Maybe some targeted help for parenting would ease your load. Or if you’re feeling overwhelmed by heavy emotions, a local therapist or pastor could speak into the pain. And please know you can reach out to Rob and me for prayer since we’re in your corner right here, right now.

God stands ready to lead us into focus, purpose, and hope today. He’ll never let us down. We can stand on His promises and believe that help is on the way.

 

A Prayer for Today

Lord,

 

We never imagined we could feel this helpless and trapped. It seems like it’s all gone wrong and we don’t know how to fix it. We struggle to hold on to hope when the future seems so dark. 

 

Yet today we choose to believe you and thank you for holding all the wisdom and mercy we need. Show us just one next step to take. Rekindle our faith that you’re working even when we can’t see it with our eyes. Send people our way who can give solid advice to follow. Teach us what we need to know and give us humble hearts to follow your lead.

 

Your love is the solid ground under our feet. Thank you for your Word and your Spirit that we can rely on to guide our way. We trust you and are grateful for all you will do. Amen.

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