The Crossroads: Navigating Anxiety and Indecision
Everyone comes to a crossroads in life. Difficult times often demand decisions. Though it may vary from one person to the next and one situation to another, we will experience tests and trials where we may not always know what to do. For many, this can evoke a certain amount of anxiety and indecision. Situations where we feel ill-equipped or underprepared can freeze us in fear.We may become inert, aware that we are faced with a set of circumstances where we can’t control the outcome. The best path isn’t always obvious. The nebulous nature of our options can provoke a stress reaction, eliciting worry about what hasn’t happened and what may not even occur. Yet, to us, it can seem insurmountable, and we escalate our level of anxiety as we wrestle with what seems to be out of our reach. Although it may agitate us, none of it alarms God.
Intersecting with anxiety and indecision.
Our omniscient God is fully aware of the crossroads we encounter, where anxiety intersects with indecision and opportunity. The Father knows us intimately, as He recognizes our thoughts from a distance. He scrolls the pages of our lives, as they are written and recorded in His book.
Jesus is not ignorant or unfeeling when it comes to the quandaries we face when choices present, as He is sensitive to our vulnerabilities. As much as life seems to take us by surprise, Christ, as our Prince of Peace, has already equipped us to thrive despite what threatens to destabilize.
It may be helpful to encourage ourselves with the truth from Job’s story. He was an upright man, who denounced evil and pursued God (Job 1-2). He suffered greatly when the Lord allowed Satan to break through the hedge where God had encircled him, his health, family, livelihood, and property in divine protection.
The enemy had to petition God to afflict Job, and God granted it. God knew that Job would retain his testimony and come through the debilitating nature of the test, with a testimony that would bless the Lord and all those who witnessed Job’s ordeal.
Somewhat like Job, it is important to remember that despite what we encounter, God is good. He doesn’t cause our trouble, but He retools it to shape and forge us for His purpose. He knows that with the paths that He has orchestrated and prepared for us to walk, that challenge will build character and mature spiritual fruit (Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 5:22-23).
We may feel daunted by the intersection of our present circumstances. Yet, they don’t have the power to extinguish the hope that beckons us into our future (Jeremiah 29:11).
However, advancement into the future requires choices that won’t always seem easy or clear. When opportunity presents itself, wrestling with what to do or not has the potential to trigger anxiety and indecision.
We may have had little experience with making choices if we have had a history of codependency where someone else made our choices out of control or manipulation. We may not have developed the confidence to navigate the process of weighing difficult decisions. In other situations, indecision itself became a choice when the opportunity expired, simply because we were afraid of making the wrong decision, and therefore, made none.
Shades of anxiety and indecision.
All choices aren’t distinctly black or white, or good or bad. Sometimes, the indecision we experience is associated with a lack of clarity. It can seem overwhelming when our past trauma inconveniently presents itself, eroding our confidence in the ability to move forward in one direction or another.
When we want to embark on new journeys and pursue fresh opportunities, anxiety and indecision appear, paralyzing us with anxiety and indecision. While this presents as a strategic move of the enemy, we still have the kingdom advantage. Seeking the Lord steadies us despite the insecure feeling that being at a crossroads can produce.
Decisions and direction.
There are several ways you can seek direction from the Lord to make solid decisions. Here are suggestions for you.
Seek the Lord.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105, NIV
Although we are at a crossroads, we don’t have to blaze through the intersection. Slowing down and pausing with the Holy Spirit in prayer and worship, will burn through the mental fog and emotional clutter that can obstruct clear judgment.
The Lord is already knowledgeable of what we need. Asking Him for wisdom acknowledges our dependence on Him to navigate the unseen element of what lies ahead. His Word helps us to advance by faith when the way seems cloudy.
Study your options.
Get acquainted with your options. Gather essential information from reliable sources that are available to you. Whether you research information online, read other written materials, or interview and ask questions from those with wisdom and experience, you can collect essential data to help you distill your focus.
Synthesize the data.
‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2:16, ESV
Take what you’ve gathered and tease out the pros and cons. As you read and review, avoid rushing to judgment. The obvious choice may not be the best one for you.
Yet, as you are continuing in prayer, remember that you have the mind and Spirit of Christ that distinguishes between good and better, and between better and best. He will breathe on the Word you’ve read and amplify what He’s spoken, even if it defies natural logic and reasoning.
Surrender your logic.
Let the peace of God be the deciding factor. We won’t always recognize our best option; and sometimes, not until we are on the other side of our decision. Surrendering our perceived control positions our hearts and minds in peace where anxiety would otherwise rule.
Strong emotion may suggest that we delay decision-making or avoid it altogether. It may be tempting to wait, but our emotions are prone to waver under distress. We may not always hear a distinct Word or have a pronounced sense of one choice over another. Sometimes, the Lord simply invites us into risk, embracing the adventure that comes with faith.
Settle your heart.
The outcome is unseen. The path is unknown, which can be unsettling. However, our anchor is tethered to the Rock of Christ. Jesus can redeem our decisions, befriend, and teach us through whatever comes of our encounter.This isn’t a cross-examination of our person, but rather a crossroads that all of humanity faces at some point in life. We who love God, however, have the advantage and encouragement that He makes good out of it, as we trust Him and follow the purpose that He has reserved for us.
Seize the moment.
The weight of decision is not only what you decide, but also when. Mind the time as this may be your open door to enter at this moment. Once you have clarity and summoned the courage to pursue a direction in absence of abundant detail or another confirmation, make the move with God. You’ve prayed, fasted, spent time with the Holy Spirit, and sought wise counsel.
Stretch in faith.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way…” – Psalm 37:23, ESV
There’s no way of knowing everything in advance. God does, but He won’t always reveal everything before we enter the other side of a decision. Trust is born through relationship. Circumstances will test us, but we grow in reliance and relationship with the Holy Spirit. We may value what we know, but we learn to prioritize resting in the One who knows what we don’t.
As we remain in constant communication with Him, reinforcing our faith through adherence to His Word, we stretch into deeper intimacy. We trust Him through the seen and the unseen, knowing that He takes pleasure in directing our steps, one after the next orchestrated move.
What’s next for you? Knowing is not a prerequisite. Although it can feel overwhelming to experience the anxiety that toggles between having little information or none, actively choose to rest your mind in the Lord.
It can be helpful to have a safe place to sort these thoughts and feelings out with a counselor, so seek out professional help on this site. While you may be at the crossroads for now, following some of these principles will equip you to embrace and launch into the next step of your adventure, with God as your Guide.
“Contemplation”, Courtesy of Mahdi Bafande, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “On the Walkway”, Courtesy of Mateusz Klein, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Walking in the Surf”, Courtesy of Ioana Ye, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “On the Boardwalk”, Courtesy of Anton Ponomarenko, Unsplash.com, CC0 License