“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a common enough question, but what comes out of a kid’s mouth afterwards is anyone’s guess. Typical responses include “Doctor” or “teacher.” Others might say “astronaut” or “firefighter.” Perhaps some aspire to be artists. Some, like the boy in my son’s class, announced to the police officer presenting on career day, “My Dad has a pair of handcuffs too, but his have pink fur on them.”

For the record, that kid was not mine. However, weird words flew out of my mouth at his age, too. At age 5 I set my sights on an out-of-the-box career: I wanted to be Vanna White, the gorgeous gal who, to this day, turns over letters in word puzzles on the game show Wheel of Fortune.

Those diluted career aspirations dissipated after a while, and I’ve moved on (mostly). I still like watching the show, and I’m not the only one. People still tune in nightly after more than three decades on the air. For those who don’t play at home, Wheel of Fortune features three contestants spinning a wheel to earn cash and prizes. They guess individual letters to try and solve the word puzzle in play. If they get stumped, they can buy a vowel.

It would be comforting if that’s how life played out. Who among us hasn’t waffled over a decision? Who hasn’t scratched their head when trying determine God’s direction for their life? Perhaps He’s calling to you to a career change, but you’re uncertain how that will play out. Maybe God is nudging you to me speak truth into a friend’s life, but you’re scared to be honest because you’re not certain how they’ll respond. I may boast “I trust God to take care of my husband and kids”, but when push comes to shove, I try to manipulate circumstances myself.

I see the puzzle just like those T.V. contestants. However, all the guessing in the world won’t help me figure out the missing pieces or more clearly help me determine what God wants me to do.

I’d like the spiritual equivalent of buying a vowel, Pat.

When life leaves you with an unsolvable puzzle, take heart by:

  • Looking back. What is God’s track record in your life? Recall when he’s answered prayer, provided a need, or given peace when you least expected it. He didn’t abandon you then; he won’t abandon you now. 
  • Looking around. Maybe you haven’t walked with God a long time, or your church attendance has been hit or miss. It could be you’ve stuck in a discouraging cycle. Where do you go from there? Ask fellow Christ followers to guide you. When and how did God come through for them? What advice can they give you while you’re waiting? 
  • Looking up. Communicating with God isn’t about getting answers or getting what we want. It’s about exploring God’s heart and hearing what He’s saying even in seasons of waiting, frustration, or uncertainty. What is he saying to you today? 

James 1:5 reminds us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” We don’t have to spin for a consonant or use our resources to buy a vowel. We simply must look up to the One who already knows how the pieces of our lives will fit together.