When You Wonder, “What Should I Do?”
What should I do?
How many times do you think you’ve asked this question in the course of your life? 1000? 10,000? More?
How many times have you asked yourself this already, today?
Yesterday, I found myself asking the familiar question once again. Should I move forward, or hold back? Should I say something, or keep silent, and just pray? If I say something, how do I broach the subject? Am I the right person to say something? Is it the right time? How will it be received?
Today I faced a completely different issue, but the question was the same: what should I do? Say yes? Say no? Keep a commitment? Back out?
You know the drill. You’ve been round and round like this in your mind, too. In fact, even today, you’ll probably ask yourself this question about something, even if it’s a small thing. I know you’ll ask it if you encounter a big thing.
So how do we handle people, problems, and possibilities with wisdom–especially when others are involved? What’s the best course of action? What’s the right thing to do?
This is a crucial question for me because, honestly, sometimes I can be a terrible decision maker. For those of us who struggle with indecision, figuring out “What should I do?” is about as easy as running through mud. We get bogged down with options. We get overwhelmed by wanting to do the right thing, when we aren’t exactly certain what the right thing is. This makes discerning the answer to “what should I do?” complicated. More complicated than it needs to be, really.
But words I read this week shed light on my particular dilemmas. I’m pretty sure they’ll shed light on yours, too.
Listen to the words of Jesus:
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
The golden rule is the golden ticket to wisdom. The golden rule is the golden ticket to discerning God’s will.
It’s so easy to think about finding “God’s will” when it comes to “big” stuff, like which job to take, which house to buy, or which school to choose–the choices we deem as defining. But you know what I’m learning more and more? God’s will has as much to do with my daily decisions as it does with my defining decisions. Probably more. My daily decisions are my defining decisions, because they determine what kind of person I become.
The bulk of our daily decisions involves how we relate with others: Our family. Our friends. Our co-workers. Even strangers. Every choice we make affects someone else. Even choices we consider personal, in some way, are really interpersonal.
Which brings us back to the question, “what should I do?”
The answer to the question, “what should I do”, is found by first answering another question: “If I were on the receiving end, what would I want someone to for me/with me/to me?”
Answer this, and I’m one step closer to discerning what I should do. And how I should do it.
I don’t know what you’re facing today. Maybe it’s something monumental, with the potential of rocking your world to its core. Or maybe it’s something minuscule in the grand scheme of life. Whatever your “thing” is, if it involves people, you won’t–you can’t–go wrong if you handle it by doing to others what you would want others to do to you.
So here’s the challenge for the week: make a point of treating others–family, friends, co-workers, strangers–the way you would want them to treat you.
If we could stand before Jesus with the question, “what should I do?”, I’m pretty sure he’d tell us to start there.