So what am I supposed to do?

March 25, 2011 | My Jottings

Fear and grief paralyze. Have you ever experienced that? Have you ever been so struck by heartrending news that you wonder how you’ll live the rest of the day? How you’ll manage to do all that’s required of you? I have had that happen to me, more than once unfortunately. I know I’m not alone.

And for a day or two I am gripped by fear and feel paralyzed. I cry and sit and pray short pleading prayers. Help! Do something! Please rescue! Protect my family Lord! Please. Please. Lord Jesus. Please. Some folks reading this might think that’s rather pathetic…that’s okay. I just want to cry out to the One I know can help me.

But since I never mercifully die in my sleep or accidentally plunge off a cliff into the frigid waters of Lake Superior, I’m left with this dilemma when I’m feeling afraid and paralyzed: what am I supposed to do now? When the axis of my existence tilts and all life as I know it shifts, what am I supposed to do? It feels like things should just come to a halt. The brakes should screech and the deadly sound of a vehicle being demolished should follow, and nothing should continue on as before. Meals should not have to be cooked when the heart is bleeding. Paperwork should not have to be done when the soul is limping and dragging itself along. Small talk should not be expected when tectonic plates shift and I see rubble all around.

But that’s not the way things go, and I ask again, “So what am I supposed to do?”

For today, this is what I’ve arrived at.

When I feel like throwing in the towel, I will instead fold the towel; I’ll do the laundry, give thanks for electricity and clean water, a washer and dryer, and working hands and arms, and I will fold the towels. And the underwear. And the jeans and the socks.

When I feel like slitting my wrists, I will instead feel the pulse on my wrists. I will remind myself that my heart is beating because God wills it so, and He therefore must have some kind of plan for my day. I will give thanks for my beating heart (that I feel through my wrists that I have not yet slit) and His mysterious plan. πŸ™‚

When I feel like ushering all people out of my life because I vont to be alone, I will invite someone for dinner. I will text a friend. I will respond to emails. I will give thanks because the Lord has filled my life with loving people.

When I can’t for the life of me figure out what God is doing, I will trust His ways, His power and love for my family. β€œThese things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

When my default reaction is to be afraid, I will try to remember that God says this: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

I will knit a scarf for a friend in California. I will drive our gals to their appointments. I will clean the kitchen. I will fold the laundry. I will pour love into my wonderful grandchildren. I will watch the bears at and thrill at a few creatures on this earth that are getting it right. I will make sure those I care for have the best I can give. I will make homemade pizza with whole wheat crust, and panzanella with fresh basil. I will search for His words meant just for me in His Word. I will give hugs. I will praise Him in the dark. I will keep writing of His gifts in my gratitude journal. I will ask forgiveness when I fail. I will not throw a cup on the floor and break it. I will watch the deer in the forest. I will resist being paralyzed by fear and grief. I will try to be of good cheer.

And I will pray.

And I will pray.

And I will pray.


  1. Ganeida says:

    Oh dear. Are we suffering from the same malady? Some days I just go back to bed. It seems the only sane thing to do. It’s when I can’t pray I worry ~& it tends to be the flip side of this particular coin. <3 for you.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Thank you so much Ganeida….will be in touch soon.

  3. Ronda B says:

    Thank you Julie!

  4. Carey says:

    Dearest, I know these kind of days…I’ve had a few of them myself in 2011. The only comfort I ever find is in knowing that others have been dealt similar hands and have somehow gotten through to the other side. Even Paul, in 2 Corinthians tells us, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.”

    If we stop reading there, we miss the whole gist of the passage. The next verse is the key one – “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God…” Bake, cook, type, clean, knit to maintain sanity…but your trust in Him will get you through.

  5. Dorothy Sooter says:

    Julie, I feel your pain and fear. Oh, how I wish I could just give you a big, big hug. Life is going to be a mystery until we cross over and the tears, the fears, the pain will be all over. Thank God that we know Him. Love you.

  6. Christy says:

    You didn’t know it…..but you wrote this for me.

  7. Just Julie says:

    I love you Christy. πŸ™‚

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