When You Aren’t Sure What the Next Step Looks Like

by Ruth Schwenk April 21, 2022
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

Several years ago, when my husband and I were newly married, we found ourselves in the middle of a difficult season. My husband had resigned his position at a local church, and what we thought would be next fell through at the last minute.

We were immediately thrust into uncertainty, struggling to pay our bills. As he worked late nights at a factory to bring in some income, I agonized over our situation, praying fervently for the Lord to show us what was next.

After what felt like an eternity, God opened the door to a new position at a wonderful church. And as we would learn over the next years of marriage, this was just the beginning of what is a lifetime of discerning what God wants and trusting Him for what is just out of our sight.

It is easy for us to feel overwhelmed no matter how old we are. We agonize whether this step or that decision is right. We wonder if we are following the path God wants for us.

But I think that sometimes we make it too complicated or harder than it needs to be. Maybe we need to pursue trust more than clarity.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

So often, I lean on my own understanding. I calculate in order to get clarity. I try to figure out my way through the fog! But the writer of most of Proverbs, King Solomon, invites us not to lean on our own understanding, resources or connections but rather on God Himself.

To “lean” (Hebrew: Shaw-an) on God literally means “to put all of your weight on” the wisdom and love of the Lord. It is to completely rely on, and completely rest in, the One who knows all and supplies all. He is the One who can make our paths straight. That’s not a promise that we will always make the right choice. Rather, it is a promise that, no matter what, He will be with us, and His purposes will not fail. (Proverbs 19:21)

Truthfully, when I have a choice to make, I run through every possible scenario in my mind. And if the waiting is too long, I find myself obsessing about what the future holds. This definitely doesn’t look like me putting all of my weight on Him. But putting our weight on Him is what we can do. The weight isn’t for us to carry. We are to lean on Him completely.

Furthermore, when Proverbs 3:6 says “acknowledge him,” it means more than just a recognition, like when you see someone walking down the street. It means a deep and intimate knowledge of who God is and confidence in His character. An assurance that He sees all and is working for our good and His glory. When we truly know God, we can’t help but trust Him.

Friend, peace is found in walking by faith, not in figuring out the future. No matter what choices we make, we can trust God will be with us, loving us and leading us. We can put all of our concerns completely on our loving Father. Will you give back the gift of your trust to Him today, no matter what you are facing?

Lord, help me to seek You first in all I do. My life is in Your hands, and I want to rely completely on You. Give me a heart that desires to know You and live completely for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


If you are struggling to lean on God or simply wondering what that next step looks like, encourage your heart and grab a copy of the brand-new devotional Trusting God in All the Things from Ruth Schwenk and Karen Ehman. This beautiful 90-day devotional will help you find peace in your every day and experience the confident calm your heart desires. Click here to order your copy today!


For encouragement and hope every day, you can connect with Ruth on Instagram.


Psalm 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (NIV)

Our lives will be shaped by what we love. Why is desiring God first and foremost more important than discerning God’s will? What desire in your life is in need of being purified by God?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

© 2022 by Ruth Schwenk. All rights reserved.

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