“What now, Lord? What am I supposed to do next?” These questions wound their way through the chaos and confusion that swirled inside me. Another nothing day. My back hit the bed. I was exhausted, empty, and hopeless. Through tears, I watched the ceiling fan spin endlessly around as I waited for the numbness and mindless feelings to pass.

I was unmarried, in my midtwenties, living on my own, and following Jesus the best I knew how. But I just felt broken. I was tired of scattered life pursuits, people pleasing, and broken relationships. My inability to make things happen challenged every ounce of pride left in me.

So there I was, undone and desperately needing God to answer these questions. In silent weariness, I waited. And finally, in that stillness, God showed me what I had not seen.

A works-based faith had consumed every area of my life. In my zeal to make sure other people knew Him, I was missing the life-changing work He was endeavoring to do in me. I was striving to do so much for God that I was missing the greatest treasure—the presence of Jesus Himself. I realized that, in my pride, I was trying to do enough to redeem the sins of my past. 

Finally, in surrender, I turned to my heavenly Father. I gave Him my pride, self-sufficiency, and all my self-promoting works. I can’t say that I was immediately delivered of my works-based mindset—it’s a decade later, and I’m still a work in progress—but my life changed that night.

But I do know there is a Savior greater than the one I so often strive to be, and He loves me.

Salvation is a gift of God, through His Son, Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” We cannot keep our salvation by our good works; nor can we undo it by our sin. 

We live in fellowship with Him only because of His grace and our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross. Jesus died so we could have forgiveness of sin and eternal life, and He offers us an earthly life that we can enjoy, both with and for Him (Hebrews 11:6; John 3:16; John 10:10).

I still ask, “What now, Lord?” But today, I ask from a place of humility, with a perspective that’s anchored in God’s promises and a purpose of knowing better the One who loves, protects, and guides me. I don’t have to fill my days with endless striving—and neither do you.

Have you reached your limit? Do you feel broken and empty? Are you seeking wisdom for your next life decision? Are you crying out, “What now, Lord?” 

If you are, don’t worry—this is a great place to be! The fact that you are asking is evidence that Jesus is drawing you into a deeper understanding of His love. It’s a love you don’t have to earn or work to keep. All you have to do is receive.

Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30 ESV).

Your heavenly Father sees you. He hears you. Rest, trust, wait. Lay aside your striving and remember His faithfulness to you. For His glory and your good, He will answer you. Listen and learn from Him.  †