How To Respond When You Don’t Know How to Respond
Sometimes life is intimidating.
There are days I wake up feeling like my heart is going to explode with purpose and passion and excitement about what’s ahead. Other days I wake up with the question lingering, “Is there really anything good I’ve got to offer the world?”
On too many of these days I lay my head down at night and somewhere deep down inside begs the question “Do I even matter? Did what I do today—who I was—make any difference at all?”
Some days it’s a prayer that seems to go unanswered.
Some days it’s when I suggest an idea in a meeting and nobody acknowledges me.
Some days it’s when I ask a friend for help and they don’t come through.
Some days it’s when the guy I like chooses someone else.
Some days it’s when I just don’t know how to fix the problem in front of me.
There are a multitude of things that can make me feel devalued, and I bet there are plenty of things that do the same to you. Our lists probably even overlap a bit.
You know what? Life is intimidating when you give things and people and circumstances the power to tell you what you’re worth.
I think there’s a better way.
It’s not easy. I haven’t mastered it. It’s one of those show-up-every-day, give-yourself-some-grace and keep-working-on-it kind of things.
Look toward God and trust what He says. Look up!
There is someone in this world that wants you to believe you are not seen or heard and that you may not have been placed exactly where you are on purpose. Then, there is Someone far greater who sees you, hears you, knows you and works everything out in His glorious goodness.
So what do we do when we think we’re not chosen or heard? What do we do when we think our voice has fallen on deaf ears? How do we respond when life throws a wrench in our plans and we just don’t know how to respond?
We look up.
A friend (mentor, leader…) tells me regularly, “Control what you can control, and trust the process.” When he first started telling me this, I thought it sounded really cool. It was catchy, you know? Eventually it got annoying. I didn’t want to receive one more pep talk, text or email with those 9 words. Lately—finally—I think I’m starting to get it.
You know what I can control? Me. That’s it. I can control me and how I respond to the world around me.
Some days it’s a prayer that seems to go unanswered. So I remember that God is a God who answers. Who loves me.
Some days it’s when I suggest an idea in a meeting and nobody acknowledges me. So I remember that I know God’s voice and His voice leads me on the right path. All I can do is control how I respond in the moment and continue to be obedient to Him.
Some days it’s when I ask a friend for help and they don’t come through. So I remember that my life isn’t meant to be about what others do for me. I’m called to love, end of story. So I respond by finding an opportunity to do something for my friend instead.
Some days it’s when the guy I like chooses someone else. So I remember and rely on the fact that God loves me. Sees me. Delights in me. Enjoys me. Calls me to be like Christ. To love like Christ. To forgive like Christ. So I turn to Him. Again and again and again.
Some days it’s when I just don’t know how to fix the problem in front of me. So I remember that God has placed people around me who are far more equipped than I am. And I ask for their insight.
How do we respond when we don’t know how to respond? We control what we can control. We choose to look up rather than become fixated on the situation we find ourselves in. Eventually, we discover there’s joy even in the difficult-to-navigate parts of life. And we keep coming back to Jesus in every moment we’re tempted to look for value from anything other than Him.