In order to learn to effectively deal with stress, recovering perfectionists (like yours truly) must learn to get to the point where saying, ‘I don’t know,’ is not a point of crisis.
When you feel stress extending across your shoulders, neck, and back, this may be one of the problems. My habit has been to panic, internally, when I reach a point where I don’t know what to do.
I have had to learn to rely on Spirit, to point out what to do, or to trust my instincts.
The writer of the Book of Acts says it this way: “It seemed good to us…”
What does THAT mean?
In our rigid, 21st-century mental boxes, we have asked God to rigidly conform to our rules: “Now, God, this is either your will, or it is not. Please tell us which.”
(And sometimes, that is necessary, at first.)
I have found, however, that sometimes it is like throwing Jell-O at a target, and seeing what sticks.
It’s not that I don’t hear clearly. I’ve been basically forced, over a number of years, to learn Spirit’s voice clearly, for my own sanity, and, ultimately, to learn how to help others.
(I don’t like the word ‘forced’ here; it’s an unpleasant word, but it is a fairly accurate way of describing my experience.)
I am finding that, many, many times, that there is more than one ‘best answer’.
I was taught, either explicitly or by inference, that, ‘God has only ONE RIGHT SOLUTION for every equation.’
This is not mathematics.
Unfortunately, sometimes you reach three or four solutions that seem right inside. And, as you cannot know the future, and are not guaranteed tomorrow, or even the next five minutes, then you do not know how it will work out.
What do you do at this point?
Take a ‘stab in the dark’, and then trust God for the outcome.
“What if I make the wrong choice?”
What if you do? What will happen?
God will work it out.
It is quite likely that it will seem to work out badly, and seem to not work, at the beginning, but will pan out later.
You may have to ask others for help: “I tried this, and it doesn’t appear to be working. Can you help me?”
Or, it could work out much, much better than you hoped.
Most likely, it will be some ultimately-holy, ultimately-beautiful combination of the above.
If you need to make a decision right now, and it can’t wait, and nobody around you knows what to do, but you have at least one idea of what to do, then just pick something, stick with that decision, follow through on your commitments, and trust God that He will work it out.
Maybe it will turn out to be a mess. Perhaps it will blow up in your face! Maybe you’ll need others to help clean up the mess. But, in the end, if THAT happens, then you will have learned what works, and what doesn’t.
In the end: rest, and trust. Make your decision, and know that God’s got your back.