Are you overwhelmed by what step in your life to take next? It is easy to feel stuck in the transition period of your life. Change is inevitable and can be extremely difficult and confusing if you are blindly experiencing it.
Growing up as a missionary kid, my life was constantly changing, and I tend to handle change much harder than most in my family. I form strong emotional attachments to people, places, things, and experiences. This has made breakups, changing jobs, changing schools, and shifts in friendships much harder for me. Though it was never difficult for me to make friends as a child, I would sometimes avoid new friendships if I knew the other person would be moving soon. If I knew my cousins were coming for a short visit, rather than being excited for their arrival, I would become melancholy and focus only on their soon-to-come departure.
The older we get, the harder change can become because the decisions to be made seem much bigger. In high-school, the next step in life would be deciding where to go to college. In college, the next decision may be figuring out what to do after graduation. Within the broader decisions, there are still many smaller steps to be taken. The right next step can seem very confusing and complicated, especially when there are a few different options in front of you.
Below, I’ve listed the six practical ways to confirm the next right step in your life that helped me make the decision to go into full time ministry. I still use these six steps today when making decisions, and I pray they help you know what right next step to take on the path of life.
Knowing God’s Word and His promises is so important in decision-making. Ask yourself if the step that is in front of you aligns with Scripture. None of the points after this one will lead you accurately if you do not weigh your next step with this first main point.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” – Isaiah 30:21
God already knows the decisions you have to make, but He wants to hear from you about it. Talking or writing is so helpful for you because you are able to adequately process everything. Anxiety and stress sprout up quickly in the decision-making process and can fog up the lens of clarity. Philippians 4:6 is one of my favorite verses because it guides us to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present [our] requests to God.” Prayer should be our first response and not our last resort.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” – Jeremiah 29:11
What are you passionate about? Is your passion honoring to God? Is the step that is in front of you something you are passionate about? You may be good at something, but if you are not passionate about it, you will burn out quick. I have a passion for a lot of things, i.e., music, art, fostering kittens, the medical field, science, marine biology, and fashion. Having interests in a broad spectrum of fields can make it even harder to make a decision, but it can also relieve the pressure of making the “wrong choice.”
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I have determined that I’m most passionate about people. I desire people to feel known, connected, encouraged, and understand their God-given purpose and reason for existence. What helped confirm this for me was understanding my own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. There are many assessments and personality tests that you can take in order to help you better understand yourself. I recommend, Strengths Finder and the Enneagram test. Knowing what you are good at and understanding what you are passionate about will help narrow down the options in front of you.
If it’s a relationship decision, ask yourself if the relationship is moving you closer to what you’re passionate about or pulling you away. Allow the Holy Spirit to fan into flame your gifts until your passion to use them becomes overwhelming.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Do you have a peace about the next step? For years, I had a peace about going into nursing school. I loved the medical field, I was passionate about caring for people, and I enjoyed studying and working hard. It made sense. After a breakup with a guy I had dated for almost 2 years, I transitioned churches and began to focus on my main purpose for existing. Our main purpose of existence is to love God above all else, love people, and share the good news of eternal salvation through Jesus. I could do that in nursing school, but I deeply desired to study more scripture while sharing the love of Christ. I knew that the long days of studying nursing would not allow much room for the amount of time I wanted to spend investing in expanding my Biblical knowledge.
I had a choice to make. The more logical decision would have been to go into nursing school, which was fully paid for. Instead, I chose the faith route because I no longer had the same peace about nursing that I once did. Two years later, having had many more decisions to make in full-time ministry, I have not regretted my decision once. Where do you have the most peace?
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11
“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” – Psalm 119:165
Surround yourself with Godly people who will pray for you, who will give you wise counsel, confirm you are heading in the right direction, and caution you if you are not. Fortunately, I have been blessed with amazing, Godly parents and grandparents who have helped me make the best decisions in life. I fully trust their guidance and judgement. Follow the advice of trustworthy people in your life who love you and are looking out for your best interests rather than their own. These people usually have equity with you and know you personally.
1 Corinthians 15:33 states, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”
1 Thessalonians tells us to “encourage one another and build each other up.”
“So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.” – Colossians 1:9
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
Provision is the last on the list for a reason. It is not usually seen right away. This is where faith comes in and is tested. While Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, they needed to cross the Red Sea. God miraculously separated the waters and provided dry land for them to walk through the Red Sea. Many of us know the story. We focus on the miracle, but sometimes we forget to acknowledge that a step of faith into the water was a requirement before God provided. If the step that is in front of you does not seem clear because right now you do not see provision, do not let that scare you away. If God has called you, He will also equip you. Walk in faith, obedience, and purity, and He will provide.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:18
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” – Hebrews 13:5
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
One truth to remember is that decision-making should not feel like walking on a tightrope with God. If you are living in accordance to God’s Word, God will honor whatever choice you make. Let that relieve any pressure you may have.
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” – Psalm 37:23.
Align the next step in front of you with God’s promises. Pray about it. Is the step that is in front of you something you are passionate about? Do you have peace about it?
“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.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
When You Know Your Next Step
Maybe the next step for you on the path to finding your true purpose is through education. Finding a university that knows the importance of God in your life and fosters a Godly community is so important. Being able to grow while surrounding yourself with people who will help you in the right direction is exactly what you can find with Campbellsville University Online.
This blog was written by guest contributor Rachel Zello. Zello is a contemporary Christian music singer and songwriter as well as an advocate from Fredericksburg, Virginia. You can follow her on her website or on Instagram @rachelzello.