I Don’t Know What to Do: 5 Steps when You’re Seeking Wisdom from God in Affair Recovery.

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I Don't Know What to Do - 5 Steps When You're Seeking Wisdom from God in Affair Recovery

Table of Contents

If there is one phrase I believe adequately sums up the affair recovery process, it would be, “I don’t know what to do.” Whether you are a betrayed spouse seeking healing or a repentant betrayer trying to overcome, the journey to restoration is full of difficult decisions and forks in the road. Most of us will find ourselves face down on the floor seeking wisdom from God more than once.

Thankfully, our God is eager to give it. But the Bible gives us a pretty stern warning along with God’s promise to give wisdom. So let’s look at what the Bible has to say about finding wisdom.

Finding Wisdom

Before we get into the steps for seeking wisdom from God, perhaps the first two things we need to do are define wisdom and then find out in detail what God has said about it, just to make sure we’re all on the same page. I’ve actually already written a lot about both of those things in a series all about wisdom on our sister blog. (That’s where I post lots of Bible study content that isn’t necessarily all about affair recovery, but that certainly can be applied to the process!) Rather than take up the space to recap it all here, I will just point you to those posts:

But before we move on, I’ll give you the abbreviated version.

When defining wisdom, we decided that wisdom is learning all we can about who God is, how He (Jesus) lived, and what He says and then placing such great value on that knowledge that we learn how to apply it to our own lives, asking God to guide us and give us good judgement.

As far as what God has said about it, well… there’s a lot there! He made it clear that He is the source of wisdom, and apart from Him we have no hope of ever being anything other than foolish. Finding wisdom when I don’t know what to do begins with the humility to put Him in His right place in my life.

That brings us to the passage I really want to focus on today. Specifically, James 1:2-8, but we’ll pull in context from all of James 1. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a minute and read the whole chapter before we move on. Here is our highlighted passage though:

James 1:2-8 – Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

According to the Bible, when I don’t know what to do, the answer is truly as simple as seeking wisdom from God. But the warning is clear. If there is to be any hope of stability in my future, I have to be looking to God alone. I cannot waver. I must place my faith in Him alone.

When I Don’t Know What To Do

I hope I never forget those early days of healing, even though they were terrible – truly the very worst days of my whole life. But it was a time when I was completely dependent on God for every single thing. I really don’t think I could even have drawn my next breath without His help!

And there was a beauty in that.

I was broken – it seemed beyond repair. I spent many days curled up on my floor, crying out to God, “Help me! I don’t know what to do!”

I was scared. I was hurting. I was SO confused. I didn’t want to find myself right back in that same place in another year (as I had done the previous year). If my marriage was going to survive, it had to be on new terms. But how was I supposed to know how to make those terms?

At the very same time, my husband was in a similar place. He too found himself crying out to God, “Help me! I don’t know what to do.” He too didn’t want to end up right back in the same place. He knew something had to change, but like me, he just wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it.

The good news is that the very brokenness that brought us to that place was the key to getting past it. It was the brokenness that finally brought us to true wisdom. In realizing we didn’t have any answers we could finally turn wholeheartedly to the ONE who has all the answers and put our faith in Him alone.

We could stop being blown and tossed about by the winds of every new counselor who claimed to be able to get to the root of our problems.

God knew the root of our problem. It is was sin. And He had the answer. It was Jesus.

Over the years, as God has grown our story into a ministry, the most common subject line in the emails we receive is, you guessed it, “Help me! I don’t know what to do.”

And now we know that there is hope in those words. So much hope! Because in admitting that we don’t have the answers, we can finally turn away from all the foolishness the world touts as wise and place every single egg in the basket of true wisdom which begins with seeking wisdom from God.

I Need Wisdom

This brings us to a point where we need to put together some practical steps. It’s all well and good to say that seeking wisdom from God is the key, but what does that actually look like in simple, practical steps? What do I do when I need wisdom because I don’t know what to do in a very specific situation?

Let’s look at our passage again.

James 1:2-8 – Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Five Steps when Seeking Wisdom From God

Here are five steps I see in James 1 that I believe will provide the answers we seek every single time. They may not always come as quickly as we’d like, but they’ll always come in God’s time, which is best.

STEP ONE for finding wisdom: Check my attitude.

Look at James 1:2. What does it say we need to do when we’re facing troubles of any kind? Moan and complain and use it as an excuse to act poorly? Nope. Go to a counselor who will validate every feeling and tell us we’ve been victimized somehow and no one can expect us to do anything other than be a victim for the rest of our lives? Still no.

What the Bible says is that when we’re facing troubles of any kind, we should consider it an opportunity for great joy.

Great JOY.

Guys, that is just so completely the opposite of anything we’re going to hear anywhere other than Scripture.

The Bible says when we’re facing trouble, what we’re ultimately facing is a testing of our faith. Our faith will either grow or it will fail as a result. So we have to face that trouble and look at it as an opportunity for our faith to grow.

When faith grows, joy is the result. Because when faith grows we get closer to Jesus, and there is nothing more joyful than greater intimacy with our Savior!

So the very first thing we need to do is check our attitude. Are we looking at our situation (no matter how terrible and painful it is) as a potential faith growing opportunity? Are we looking at it as a chance to draw closer to Jesus?

If not, let’s fix that and we will be one step closer to finding wisdom.

STEP TWO when I don’t know what to do: Let my faith grow.

Once I have my attitude in check and I am looking at my terrible situation as a chance for my spiritual endurance to multiply exponentially, the Bible says the next thing I should do is let my faith grow.

But how does faith grow? Let’s look at the context of this passage in the rest of James 1 for our answer.

In verses 12-15, the Bible reminds us that the temptations we face in this life spring from the desires in our own sinful hearts. They’re not from God. Because, as verses 16-18 tell us, only what is good and perfect comes from God. Never what is bad. He does not tempt us to do evil, for He is righteous and unchanging.

These verses tell us that out of all creation, WE are God’s prized possession, which is why He gives us every good and perfect gift. And that is exactly why, these verses say, He gave us His Word. So we must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. And then God’s word says this:

James 1:21-25 – So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the Word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the Word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets your free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

How do we let our faith grow? By looking into the perfect mirror of God’s Word and allowing it to show us what is true and what is not, and then living in obedience to it. That means we have to be reading our Bibles. Regularly. Daily.

And we have to be using that time each day to look for the guidance God has for us as He speaks to us through those divinely inspired words. God will do everything else.

When I feel like I don’t know what to do, I don’t actually need to have all the steps figured out. I just need to find the answer to the question of what God is asking me to do or not do right now, and then I need to obey. He’ll take care of the details. He’ll prepare the way. He’ll handle the pitfalls. He’s going to take care of all of it. I just have to obey Him. That is how my faith grows.

STEP THREE when I need wisdom: Ask God.

Once I’ve aligned my attitude to the reality of what God is doing in my life, and I’ve taken the step of obedience to God’s Word which allows my faith to grow, the next step is simply to ask God for the wisdom I need. When I don’t know what to do, it really just boils down to this: I need to ask God for help.

I love the way the passage is worded here in the NLT. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” If you need it, ask. He will give it to you! And He’s not going to be mad at you for asking.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5

Guys, our God knows who we are. He knows our weaknesses. He knows our strengths. He knows our hang-ups. He knows what has happened to us in far more detail than even we know! He sees the baggage. He knows we’re struggling and confused and hurting and broken. He knows what doesn’t work right in our brains and why – he created that brain!

But more than He knows all those things, He also knows how to fix it. He knows the answers. He doesn’t just see our past, He sees our future! He knows what tomorrow holds. No other expert can make that claim.

So when I don’t know what to do, I don’t need the kind of wisdom offered by this world and its experts. I need the wisdom only God has. I need true wisdom. And getting it is as simple as asking Him for it.

STEP FOUR when seeking wisdom from God: Be sure your faith is in God alone.

This brings us to step four, which I really believe to be the most difficult of all the steps. I think this is the one that trips most of us up. Well… maybe this one and step one.

IF we have managed to see our situation as an opportunity for growth and turned to God for the help we need, THEN this is the step that gets most of us off course. This is the one that is a struggle for me. This is the one that shows us why so many of us are being blown about in the waves of instability.

It’s not because we haven’t asked God for wisdom. We have. And it’s not because He hasn’t given it. He has. It’s because we have allowed what He said to get all clouded up by what other people say.

Oh my goodness, you guys, this one is so tough! It reminds me of Peter walking on the water. It’s so easy to see Jesus out in the waves and to get excited and ask if we can come to Him. It’s so easy to take His hand and jump out of the boat! But man is it difficult to keep our eyes off those waves once we’re out of the boat!

There are so many voices! So many “experts.” It gets pretty easy to start to believe that tuning all of that so called wisdom out is foolish. But the fact of the matter is, if the wisdom of the experts does not align with the truth of God’s Word, then it is not wisdom at all.

For example, you will not find Scripture that tells us we need to be validated in our feelings, though just about every “expert” I’ve come across says we do need that. Scripture doesn’t say that we should trust our hearts. It says the very opposite.

Jeremiah 17:9 – The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

There’s a whole lot of bad advice out there! And the very first clue that something is foolish is if it makes us feel like we have the answers or if it elevates us in some way. We don’t have the answers, only God does! The truth will never elevate us, it will always elevate God.

That’s going to rub at some of us the wrong way. It’s going to sound offensive. That’s okay. There are a lot of lies that have worked their way into our thinking and we have to let ourselves be a little ruffled if we’re going to uproot the lies and get to the kind of truth that offers lasting stability.

Friends, we are nothing. God is everything. His redemption is what gives us value. His work in us is what brings purpose. His truth is what offers wisdom. Every other thing is meaningless garbage that threatens our peace.

Seeking wisdom from God means accepting that every single thing we accept as truth HAS to be run through the lens of Scripture. It all has to align with God’s Word. Every single thing that doesn’t has to be thrown out and given no place in our hearts or our lives. Period.

STEP FIVE for finding wisdom: Obey.

Now we come to our final step in this wisdom seeking process. When I don’t know what to do, I must align my attitude to the reality of what God is doing, I must allow my faith to grow, I must ask God for the wisdom I need, and I must be sure that my faith is in Him alone. THEN, I just have to obey what He says.

When we’re seeking God for wisdom, we’ll look to His Word for the answers we need, and when we find those answers they’re going to feel a little crazy sometimes. Obey anyhow.

Ask God for courage and take the step. Do the thing. Make the boundary. Choose forgiveness. Turn away from the sin. Set up the guardrails. Tell the truth. Say the hard thing. Love the sinner. Repent. Heal. Overcome. Whatever it is, whatever His Word has led you to do, do it! Obey!

That is wisdom. Obedience to God. Every single time, that is wisdom.

Seeking Wisdom From God

Let’s close this out with a prayer that every one of us can pray when we are seeking wisdom from God.

God of Wisdom,

I don’t know what to do. This situation has me so confused. Every way I turn I see obstacles. Everywhere I look I see impossibilities. At least, that’s how it looks to me. But I know You are far above me and this circumstance. You know all about it, but You know so much more. You know what has happened, but You know what’s going to happen too.

I don’t understand why things have turned out this way and I certainly don’t see how it could be for my good or Your glory. It feels evil in every possible way. But You have promised in Scripture that You will work all things together for the good of those who love You and are called according to Your purposes. I DO love you God. More than anything. And I have been called by You to live according to Your purposes and plans for my life, and so I am going to choose to trust you in this.

Help me. Help me to see this as an opportunity to grow closer to You, more dependent on You, more changed into the image of Christ than ever before. And help that prospect to fill me with joy. I am sorry for the ways I have sinned that have brought me here, and I am turning to You with my whole heart as I move forward.

Now, here’s the problem. I don’t know what to do about _________________. But I know you have the answers I need. So as I study the Bible in the next few days and weeks, God, will You please show me what I should do about it? I need wisdom here. Your wisdom. Will You please help me?
And when you show me the answer, as I know You will, give me the courage to obey. I love You so much and I am trusting in You to help me through this. Help me to keep my eyes on You and give me the wisdom to turn away from the things that will try to distract me from Your answers.

In Jesus’s Name, AMEN.

Cherith Peters

Cherith Peters

I am a wife, mother, and passionate follower of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. After the realities of my husband's sexual addiction and infidelities finally came to a head, I began blogging about our journey to healing. God has worked many miracles in our life and marriage since then, and grown a ministry committed to helping others find the healing in Christ that changed our story forever!

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At Broken Vows, Restored Hearts, we believe that when two people surrender to God there is no marital brokenness He can’t redeem. Our God is a chain breaker and a heart healer. We only need to believe, repent, and obey! So let’s turn to Him and be healed.

“Oh Lord, if You heal me, I will be truly healed; if You save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for You alone.”
Jeremiah 17:14

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