Just Do Something: A Young Adult Story
As I sat across the room from a young man paralyzed with fear over what to do with his future, I was reminded of the terrifying roller coaster that was my teenage and young adult years. I’ll never forget the mantra I repeated incessantly to myself and others, “If God would just tell me what to do with my life, what job to do, what town to live in, what girl to marry...I would do it with everything I have. I JUST NEED TO KNOW.” I pictured myself as the roadrunner floating just off the ground; my feet were flying in a cylindrical pattern, and as soon as I touched the ground, I would be off! All I needed was for someone (God) to put me down in the right direction, and then I would be off to the races!
In a world that is constantly shoving narratives in our faces about heroes that found their purpose and then were ready to go, we tend to expect the same in our lives. When I was younger, one of my favorite songs was in the Disney movie Hercules made back in the ’90s. There is a point before the hero has found himself or his purpose, and he sings inspirationally about how he will “go the distance.” He iterates how this is dependent on him being strong, determined, and courageous to find the place where he belongs. I feel as though we have trained a generation to have this same mindset. Many high schoolers and college students have stepped foot into my office with the simple question: What do I do next? This question is not life or death but more practical steps to take in the next year or two of their lives. Yet, students usually present this question to me with some level of hysteria, confusion, angst, and defeat. Why? Because we have convinced a generation that they need to have the rest of their life in order before they become an adult. We have lost the art of just doing something.
Belly Flop or Perfect Dive
Most of us can remember being the child at the pool that was both excited to jump in and anxious about actually following through with said jump. There was the fear of the unknown, even though we knew a decent bit. We had swum in a pool before. We had floaties and/or other swimming accompaniment. We knew, at the very least, the doggy paddle or something that resembled that. We had maybe even jumped in a pool before! Even so, we stood there with a strange cocktail of emotions brewing inside of us. Finally, after enough coaching, goading, and encouragement, we would usually jump in. Lo and behold, the water was exactly as it was the last time we were in it. We may not have had the best swimming moves, the most efficient path to the particular part of the pool that we then decided to go to, or maybe even the right gear...and yet, we were ok. There is much that the current generation could learn from their much younger selves. Still, we will focus specifically on deciding to jump and then actually jumping without having every detail lined out. We have seemingly lost the art of falling/stumbling forward in life and have replaced it with a hesitancy linked to some completionist mentality that can never truly be fulfilled. There is something beautiful about getting married before you feel like you have your life “figured out.” There is something Heartwarming about having children in your youth. There is something exciting about having a general idea of what you want to do in life (or picking something random because you have no idea) and then just doing it! My ultimate encouragement to you today is that if you are at an impasse. You have a decision to make, go left or go right. I would encourage you to engage with God’s Word and get wise counsel, and if there is not a clear biblical command to go left or go right, just do something. Look up to the sky, talk to God, and simply say, “I think that I will go left and not right; if there is something different that you would have me do, please make it imminently clear. Until then, I will continue to go left. Amen.”
Applying this wisdom principle, I advise you to take the following steps before “Just Doing Something.”
Pray. This is the first step for a good reason and should be continued throughout the following steps.
- “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Search God’s Word. If there is a clear answer to be found in God’s Word, there is no need to take further steps. However, if nothing is explicitly said to your situation or there is, but it seems unclear, proceed to step 3.
- “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
Seek Wise Counsel. Seek Godly wisdom from those that are older, wiser, and more mature than you.
- “Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.” Proverbs 5:22
Wait, if possible. Unless the decision is time-sensitive, allow time for the Holy Spirit to convict, bring clarity, and open/close doors that only He can.
- “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14
Make a decision. After prayer, seeking God’s Word, seeking Wise Counsel, and waiting...it is now time to make a decision. Go left or go right, but either way, do it with a heart, trying to honor God with your decision.
- “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24
This concept was first introduced to me by Kevin DeYoung's book: Just Do Something, which I would highly recommend to you! My prayer for you today is that you would be encouraged by these steps, you would be energized to seek God and His will, and that you would take the pressure off of yourself to figure everything out. God’s got this. Which of these steps do you tend to get hung up on the most? Which of these steps is the easiest for you?
Grace and Peace,