I think one of the hardest things to do in life is to make up my mind. Just the other day I debated for over a half hour where I wanted to eat lunch with the six or seven dollars I had in my pocket. Or on Friday night I was perplexed as to what to do; go to a movie, hang out at a friend’s place, or just eat a pizza. I ended up doing all three, but the fact remains there seems to be a lot of time wasted in my life trying to decide what I want to do. And recently, I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings about what I want to do after I graduate.
Tomorrow I’m taking the LSAT to see if law school is an option. I like to read and I like to argue, so being a lawyer seems like a suitable fit. In a couple weeks, though, I begin summer school where I’ll start taking classes to fulfill my communication studies minor, something that I’ll be spending most of next year to complete. Ever since high school I’ve had a desire to do something with a video camera and some form of journalism (be it video, writing or both) also seems like a suitable fit. And yet at the same time, I hope to continue writing the book I started last summer because being an author also seems like a suitable fit. As you might see, I’ve got several interests tugging at me and pressuring me to make a decision. These last couple of months have been a struggle to indefinitely make up my mind. Like deciding what I want for lunch or how I want to spend my Friday night, I’ve had difficulty deciding what I want to do with my life.
Oftentimes what leads people to a sort of depressed state of mind is feeling lost, feeling uncertain of where you are and where you’re going. Honestly, this has happened a couple nights during this term because when I’d sit down and think about my future, there weren’t very many clear things. In fact, nothing was clear. And this caused me to feel hopeless, somewhat, and a little worried that I might fail at being a committed follower of God and a responsible person in general. What I overlooked, though, is the fact that I am not in control.
Over the last three or four days I’ve had an awesome time with God. I’ve been praying more than I used to, reading Scripture more than I used to, and just meditating on God’s truths much more than I used to. The major theme throughout my time with God has been how He is in control and I am not, how it’s His will that I am to live out and not my own. How does this solve my decision-making problems? Well, it doesn’t. But it takes away the worry.
Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” This passage stood out to me late last night. As I said, I’ve been struggling with making a decision about what I want to do in life and I’ve been getting worried about what might or might not happen. But this passage just puts it plain and simple: do something. I love to write, so I’ll write. I love to make small little videos, so I’ll make small little videos. I like to argue and read, so I’ll take the LSAT to see where it takes me. The entire time I spent trying to figure out what I wanted to do was a waste because I could have just been doing the things that I love without worrying about where it’ll take me.
But I still haven’t made up my mind; my future is still pretty unclear. Yeah God’s with me, yeah God has a plan for me, but what is it? Don’t you think at some point I should know what God’s plan for me is? And this is where a certain healing story stands out in my memory.
It comes from Mark 8:22-26, where Jesus takes a little time and effort to heal a blind man. The text says that He “spit on [the man’s] eyes and laid His hands on him, [and] He asked him, ‘Do you see anything?’ And he looked up and said, ‘I see men, but they look like trees, walking.’ Then Jesus laid His hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” Perhaps this is what our lives are like sometimes, where we see blurred images of our futures, blurred images of what we’re supposed to be doing, and with time and faith in Jesus’ work, He’ll let us see things clearly. And right here is something we can make up our minds on: following God.
During the early part of winter term, I went on a retreat over to Black Butte Ranch with Cross Training, the ministry I’ve been a part of throughout my college career. Pastor Eric Green from Jubilee was the speaker that week and the first message he gave was about Daniel and the power of a made up mind. The verse that Pastor Green highlighted was 8, where it says, “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank” and thereby dishonor God. Essentially, Daniel made up his mind to remain faithful and committed to God.
In the New Testament, we see this same idea reemerge in the words of Jesus; “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” – Matthew 6:33. I may not know what specific direction God wants me to go, but I know that if I just make up my mind to follow Him, I won’t be led astray. And if I make a regular practice of making up my mind and doing something about it, before I even know it, I’ll have a job and be doing something with my life that provides me opportunity after opportunity to honor God as Daniel did and as Jesus commands. There are many, many things in this life that distract us; the TV, the internet, even the number of options we have when we think about eating somewhere. And if we choose to give in to something so fluctuant, something so unstable, we’ll only reap frustration, hopelessness and anxiety. But if we choose to follow and serve the One who never wavers, if we make up our minds to love, serve and honor God, He’ll take care of us.
Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not we want to serve our own desires or God’s. A couple months ago I was in emotional turmoil not only because I couldn’t make up my mind, but also because I was trying to control my own life. And as I said earlier, I’m not in control of my own life; none of us are when we’ve surrendered our lives to Jesus. If we make up our minds to follow Jesus, though the road ahead is still very blurry, Jesus will lay His hands on our hearts and ask us periodically, “Do you see anything yet?” And yet, for Him, it’ll be a rhetorical question; He’ll know that we’ll see what He has in store for us.