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Book Jacket

1591451531
Hardcover
96 pages
Feb 2004
Integrity Publishers

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do

by Henry Cloud & John Townsend

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt

Excerpt:

Principle 1

Begin Your Journey with God

It almost sounds like some kind of advertising slogan, but this little play on words really says it:

“God will make a way” begins with God. It’s not your belief that makes a way; it’s God who makes a way. Your faith is the vital step you take to connect with God, the way-maker. But without God, all the faith you can possibly muster won’t get you anywhere. So our first principle for finding God’s way is to begin your journey with God.

The story of Abraham in the Bible is a good example. When God called him to leave his homeland, Abraham had no idea where he was headed.

But he believed God knew where he was headed, so he packed up and left. He did not believe in belief; he believed in a God who knew exactly where Abraham was going and who was able to lead him there.

So when we talk about faith, trust, and belief to carry you through your trials and troubles, we mean it in a very specific way. We’re not talking about warm religious feelings or an exercise in positive thinking. Faith is grounded in a relationship with God, a real Person, who knows the way for you and promises to lead you on it.

WE ARE DESIGNED FOR DEPENDENCE

Some people argue that relying on God is a weakness, that God is a crutch for those who can’t make it on their own. The fact that you need God so desperately in your life is not a weakness any more than your need for air or for food is a weakness.

God created us to reach outside ourselves to find the things we need. We were designed for dependence on him. The term “self-made person” is a huge oxymoron. No one is self-made. The psalmist writes, “It is [God] who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3 nkjv).

We did not create ourselves to begin with, nor were we designed to find our own way in life. Rather, God wired us to depend on him. When you exercise faith in him, you are doing the one thing you can do to accomplish superhuman feats: You are reaching beyond human strength and knowledge and tapping into God’s infinite strength and knowledge.

GOD PROVIDES WHAT YOU NEED

What do you do in a difficult or painful situation when you don’t know what to do? The sad truth is that many people do one of two things.

First, they repeat what didn’t work before. They try harder to make a relationship work, succeed in a career, or overcome a difficult personal problem, pattern, or habit. Chronic dieters, for example, convince themselves that “this time it will work.”

The victim in an abusive relationship reconciles after another fight or separation, thinking this time the partner will change.

This approach reflects a popular definition of insanity: Doing the same thing again but expecting different results. If you have done everything you know to do without success, trying again with your own limited knowledge and strength is not the answer.

The second common response to a hopeless situation is to stop trying altogether. These people just give up, believing the relationship will never work, they will never lose weight, they will never get over their depression, etc. Trying to get through life on your own limited strength, knowledge, and resources leads to futility and a loss of hope.

But in God’s economy, getting to the end of yourself is the beginning of hope. As Jesus said, “God blesses those who realize their need for him” (Matthew 5:3 nlt). When you realize that you are poor and helpless without God, you are ready to ask him for help. And the moment you ask God for help, you transcend your own limitations in finding your way, and God’s resources are available to you.

No matter what limitation or circumstance you are struggling against, God can empower and equip you to go beyond what you thought possible.

He can get you through a painful or tragic event, help you deal with a difficult relationship, and even make a long-held dream come true. Whatever it is, God will make a way for you, perhaps in very unexpected ways. And he does his best work when you are at the end of yourself—and admit it.

OUR “YES” IS ALL GOD NEEDS

How does this miracle happen? What must we do to get past our own abilities and tap into the power, wisdom, and resources of God himself? It seems too good to be true. Is it only for really special, really good, or really unique people? The Bible promises—and millions of people have discovered—that God’s power and resources are equally available to everyone. They cannot be earned; they can only be received as a gift when we, in humility, acknowledge our need of our Creator.

Throughout the Bible God says repeatedly, “Come to me and I will provide what you need.”

He’s ready to get totally involved in your life. All you have to do is say yes to him. When you do, he will provide what you need to find the way.

Once on your journey with God, however, sometimes his way will be truly miraculous and sometimes it will involve a lot of work, growth, and change on your part. Sometimes it won’t be the way you thought you needed, but a different and even better one. But when God makes a way, it is real, meaningful, and enduring.

Your journey with God is not intended to be a solo flight. In the next chapter we will explore God’s choices for your traveling companions.