Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

What to Do When You Want God to Show You the Next Step

The last few months have been incredibly stressful.

I changed jobs at the beginning of the year, and it has become increasingly apparent that my new job just isn’t a good fit for me. I. Am. Miserable.

I can’t pinpoint anything specific. People aren’t mean. The work isn’t difficult. There have been some moments of frustration, but nothing really bad.

The job just is not a good fit for who I am, for my strengths and passions.

Over the last month or so, I have really struggled with what to do. Who I just put in my notice even though I don’t have another job lined up? That’s very out of character for me. Do I stick it out for at least a year and see if things get better? Do I pursue other opportunities while I continue to put forth my best effort?

Those are the questions I have wrestled with over the last couple of months. I have begged God to open my eyes, to show me what to do. I have tried to plan out my steps and be the right person and do the right thing.

But the misery has spilled over to my home, my family.

During a recent Zoom meeting with some wonderful ladies, one of the ladies made the statement to ask God to just show the next step.

Not the future.

Not the next five steps.

But just the next step.

“Lord, show me the next step.”

I realized I wanted God to show me the next step, and the one after that, and the one after that. I didn’t want to walk in faith; instead, I wanted God to reveal the whole plan to me. I wanted to see the whole picture.

But that’s not the way God operates. He asks us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). He wants us to walk so closely to Him that He guides us into the future one step at a time. He wants us to trust Him and walk in obedience because when we see Him come through, it builds our faith.

Can I tell you what happened?

First, I recognized that I was looking for the future instead of the first step.

Second, I realized God was telling me to resign from my job.

Third, I delayed obedience

Yes, I finally recognized God’s voice and what my next step should be. I was overwhelmed by His perfect peace knowing exactly what I needed to do. And yet, I struggled to follow through.

The stress that had overwhelmed my body took over, and I spent a week in bed sick. I was coughing non-stop, and I lost my voice. I was so tired, so worn out. I had planned to get a couple of weeks between jobs—even if it was unpaid—but my delay in obedience has caused me to lose that opportunity to have some time to recover.

Lesson learned? Always obey God when He tells you to do something. And always obey God immediately.

My Father sees the future. He knows what I need long before I do. His heart toward me is good, and His plan is to give me the best. But when I deliberately choose to disobey, I miss out on His best for me.

Yes, this season has provided some important lessons for me, some lessons I hope I choose to hold to for the rest of my life. Let’s summarize them:

Focus on the next step.

Perhaps this prayer is the one we all need to pray every moment of every day: “Lord, show me the next step.”

So often I get caught up in the future, wanting God to show me the full picture. But there’s no faith in seeing it all. He wants us to know His heart, to trust Him so completely, that we obey what He says when He says it. It doesn’t matter what is beyond the next step; He has it all mapped out. We simply need to listen to His voice.

What’s next, Lord?

Obey immediately.

I have missed so many important blessings because I failed to obey immediately. Yes, I ultimately obeyed, but not until I felt all the pieces were in place. Not until I had a fail-safe plan. Not until I could see the future.

How much better would I feel if I had a few weeks to rest and spend time with my Father? How much fun would it be to have some time off with my family during the summer? How much fun would it be to spend a few days lounging in the pool, enjoying the lazy days of summer?

But because I chose to wait, I won’t get to enjoy those precious moments.

Develop a complete trust in our Father.

Faith is hard, but living in fear is so much harder! The lack of peace I experienced took a toll on my body. It left me drained and physically ill. You would think I would learn after walking with my Savior all my life.

The last few years have been amazing and yet have taken a toll on my spiritual life. My schedule has not allowed for much bandwidth. I feel myself running ragged, trying to figure out how to develop some semblance of balance in my life. God. Husband. Kids. Physical fitness. Work. Ministry. There’s so much clamoring for my attention, and honestly not enough hours (or energy) to complete it all. I am still trying to figure out how to be still and know Him, to sit at His feet and soak in His refreshing and relentless love.

I know when I can find balance, I will experience His perfect peace that surpasses all understanding. I know I will find that place where I experience His sweet whispers guiding my steps. I know I will remember that His heart toward me is always good, and I can always trust His guidance, always trust His next step for me.

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