I once made the most useless list ever. It was a pros and cons list about whether I should stay in a long-term, toxic relationship—we weren’t married—or leave it.
I was in a bad situation with no clue how to fix it. All I knew was that I was unhappy, confused, and stuck. I’d prayed about what I should do but God seemed silent.
So, of course, I decided to make a list.
On the left side of the page, I wrote the reasons why I should leave the relationship. It included things like breathing more easily when we weren’t together because I could relax and be myself. Then worrying the whole time about whether or not he’d approve of whatever I was saying, doing, or not doing.
On the right side of the page, I wrote the reasons why I should stay in the relationship. There was nothing about love on that list.
I ended up with ten reasons to go and one reason to stay. My pros and cons list very clearly told me to leave. So… I stayed.Have you ever made a list that was completely useless? Kristine did… Click To Tweet
Most. Useless. List. Ever.
Because I completely ignored it. Just like I ignored all the answers God was giving me about what I should do. Meanwhile, I told myself that He wasn’t hearing my prayers.
What Should I Do, God: Why You Don’t Really Mean It
Maybe you’ve done the same with your pros and cons lists. Maybe you’re doing it right now.
You make a list, on one side of which are all the reasons why making a particular decision is a great idea. On the other side are the reasons why it’s a bad idea. And the list glaringly tells you what to do. But you set it aside and disregard its message.
Either you choose to stay stuck in indecision. Or like me, or you choose to do the opposite of what your list tells you.
Meanwhile, also like me, you’re probably praying, “God, what should I do?” And you’re wondering why He isn’t answering you.
The truth is, you already know what to do, and God has likely already answered your prayer. But you’re ignoring His answer — and your pros and cons list—for two big reasons.
1. You’re Afraid To Take The Next Step
Perhaps you stay unhappily stuck because taking the next step means facing your current, not-so-great reality. And it means owning up to your part in creating that reality. Because that current reality is the result of your past decisions.
And once you face that reality, you’ll have to do something about it. You’ll have to take that scary, uncomfortable next step.
So even though you’re asking God what you should do, His clear answer through your list — and through other ways that you’re probably missing — means nothing.
Because you don’t want to face what comes next.
For example, I ignored my list and God’s answers because I didn’t want to face three facts, that:
Fact #1: I’d willingly and willfully chosen to spend almost a decade of my life in an unhealthy, ungodly relationship.
Fact #2: I’d spent even longer than that wandering away from God’s plan for my life.
Fact #3: I was scared to give up the good-looking life that I’d created.
To see if fear of what’s next is deafening you to God’s guidance, check in with yourself:
- What are you unwilling to face? This may be past decisions or current realities.
- What are you afraid to leave behind? Like your comfort zone or others’ approval of your choices.
- What exciting possibilities are you giving up by ignoring His answer to your question, “God, what should I do?”
2. You Already Know What You Want To Do
Or maybe you stay stuck because you’ve already decided on what you think is the best result. And really, what you want now is for God to bless your decision and make that result happen.
So even though you’re praying, “God, what should I do?” what you really mean is, “God, make my current situation feel better so I don’t have to change it.”
Take me, for instance. I didn’t want to let go of ten years of my life. So I ignored my list and God’s answers. What I really wanted was for Him to magically transform a relationship He never wanted for me in the first place, and make it work.
What about you? How do you feel when you consider these questions?
- What if God’s best for you isn’t what you think is best for you?
- What if God’s answer is completely different from the result you’re asking Him to bring about?
- Can you let go of what you want at this moment? And instead grab onto what God wants for you for eternity?
Why You Can Really Mean It When You Ask: God, What You Should Do?
So you make your pros and cons list then toss it aside, never following through. And you ask God what you should do, then you ignore His answers.
The thing you’re missing is this: You like your unhappy situation more than you trust God.
I know, ouch.
It hurt me to say it. But girl, I had to put it out there. Because you can’t fix it if you don’t face it.The Truth About Praying: God, What Should I Do? Click To Tweet
However, three pieces of good news can change your perspective and your life.
1. God is good and He means you good.
For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11 (CSB)
2. God is trustworthy, therefore He deserves your trust.
For the word of the Lord is right, and all his work is trustworthy.Psalm 33:4 (CSB)
3. God has your back, always.
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28 (CSB)
Sure, when you choose to trust God, you never know His entire plan or exactly where you’ll end up. And all that discomfort and uncertainty are enough to keep you up at night, right?
Except that in reality, God is the only certain thing in your life. So why not consciously decide to trust Him completely?
Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, you are God.Psalm 90:2 (CSB)
God, What Should I Do Right Now?
Yay! You’ve decided to trust God more than you like your current situation. But now what should you do actually?
Because the truth is, you’re human and may still find yourself unsure about what to do. Even though you’ve decided to trust God wholeheartedly.
Of course, angsting over decisions leaves you tied up in knots and drained of all your joy. Which is no way to live. And it’s certainly not what God wants for you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.John 14:27 (ESV)
So here’s your plan for when you’re faced with a decision and you don’t know what you should do.
1. Toss out your pros and cons list
It’s lousy with red alerts that you’re ignoring anyway. And it’s just a way for you to pretend that you’re going to make a decision. Because — be honest, now — you never do what it says.
2. Submit your situation to God
Pour out the whole thing to God, from beginning to end. It’ll make you feel better to get it out. Then, with no hidden agenda, sincerely ask Him what He wants you to do.
3. Be quiet and listen
This one can easily trip you up. Because you can pray until your knees are sore and you’ve lost your voice. But you’re wasting your time if you forget to stop talking and listen to what God says.
Remember too, that He can answer you in any way He wants. Whether through His word, wise counsel, a still, small voice, or audibly. The important thing is that you get quiet and listen to Him.
4. Do what He tells you
After listening, this is the second hardest part. Because God may tell you to do something different from what you’re used to. And that can be scary.
But do it anyway. Because you’ll never find a better, happier, more fulfilling plan than the one God has for you.Kristine didn't need a pros and cons list… and neither do we. Click To Tweet
It’s Safe For You To Pray: God, What Should I Do?
Years after I finally walked away from my toxic, ungodly relationship, I still have that useless pros and cons list. I keep as a reminder that:
- When you ask God what you should do, He always answers.
- You can always trust God, no matter what.
- Your best option is always to do what He says.
Keeping it real, this doesn’t always feel good. Frankly, it’s usually very uncomfortable (especially if you’re a planner, like me). Because God will rarely show you more than one step ahead. And very often, that step requires you to abandon your comfort zone.
But one promise you can count on over all the pros and cons lists in the world? God’s way is the best way, and it’s totally worth the discomfort. Always.
For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.Isaiah 55:9 (CSB)
And now it’s your decision, no pros and cons list needed: Will you do what God says you should?