What To Do When You Can’t Decide

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By Lissa Rankin MD

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

We usually refer to “finding your calling” as getting in touch with your life purpose. But you may be called to do any number of things that may have nothing to do with your professional life. These types of callings tend to come up whenever you find yourself unable to make a decision.

Should you stay or should you go?

Should you follow your intuition or play it safe?

Should you take a leap of faith or stay on the cliff?

Decisions can be beastly, especially when the stakes are high. But you don’t have to make these decisions alone. I believe The Universe calls to us, guiding us to where we’re meant to be. In the beginning, this guidance will show up in subtle ways, like a thought or an idea that feels like a crazy idea. Then you might read something that feels like it was meant just for you, something that reinforces the crazy idea. Then that perfect book- the one you were SO supposed to read right now- falls off the shelf in front of you. Then you have a dream full of instructions, or you see a vision of something, or you hear a voice telling you what you need to do.

How You Know When You’re Being Guided

You may not recognize the guidance at first. You might not even notice it, and if you do, you might write it off as mere coincidence. But if you don’t pay attention to the first whisperings, then the signs from the Universe get more obvious. You may get physical symptoms because you’re not listening to the whispers. Things might start happening to rock you out of your comfort zone.

Things might even start to get really trippy. You bump into the person you need to be talking with in the middle of Central Park when neither of you even live in New York City. You’re talking on the telephone, confessing what you know you must do to a dear friend, and right when you share how scared you are, a walkie talkie voice interferes with the phone line and tells you you’re not alone. You find out that you and your mentor are being guided by a spirit guide who calls himself by the same name.

This is when you know you are being called. You’ve been given clear instructions. But you may not like the instructions you’re being given.

You Still Have Choice

Free will is a funny thing when it comes to spiritual guidance. I believe we are guided with “signs from the Universe,” and these signs are suggestions, recommendations even. But we don’t have to follow the guidance. We have free will, and we may either fail to observe the signs or ignore the signs.

I think we’re given a lot of leeway when we first become aware of something we’re being called to do. We’re given a sort of grace period, a Divine time out, during which we have the opportunity to make peace with what is being asked of us. The Universe gives us a break and understands why we’re not doing what we know we must. So there are no immediate consequences to failing to heed the guidance. The Universe understand that we’re only human.

The Grace Period Ends

But then one day, the grace period is over, and what we’re being called to do becomes urgent. The signs from the Universe start coming fast and furious. The Universe is not going to let you off the hook any longer.

At this point, you still have a choice. You have free will. But if you don’t act on what is being asked of you once your grace period is over, things will start being reorganized for you, and you may feel like you no longer have a choice. You’ll get fired from that job you’ve known you’re supposed to quit. The relationship you’ve been thinking about ending will end without your choice. Your life will start reorganizing in order to make this thing that must happen inevitable, until you’re laughing or crying at how obvious it is that you’re NOT LISTENING to what you’re being guided to do.

When It’s Time To Surrender

That’s when you finally throw your hands up and say, “I give up!” You surrender. You strap on your seatbelt because you know you’re about to go for the ride of your life, and it’s a ride you can’t control, so you might as well throw your hands up and yell, “WHEEEEEEEE!” You’ll feel the butterflies, the roller coaster feeling in your belly, and it will just be a sign that you’re on the right path, even though you don’t know where you’re going.

What If Your Calling Hasn’t Showed Up Yet?

Join me, Martha Beck, and Amy Ahlers for Find Your Calling, a teleclass designed specifically to help you hear your inner guidance, get in touch with your life purpose, and do your part to change the world. We remember how much angst this can inspire, and we all have so much compassion for you if you’re one of those who is still struggling to find your life’s purpose.

If you already know what’s calling you, and you’re still in your grace period, your job is to just make peace with the truth of what you know you must do. If your grace period is over, you might as well just do what you’re being guided to do. Just let go, darling… your resistance only makes it harder. Trust that the Universe would never guide you to make a choice that isn’t safe, and there is no reason for you to be afraid. And if you don’t yet know what’s calling you, join us for Find Your Calling teleclass.

Are You Being Guided?

Is there something you just know, but you’re too afraid to acknowledge it? Are you in denial about something you’re being called to do? Are you still trying to find your calling? Tell us your stories in the comments.

Letting go,

Previous articles by Lissa

About the author

lissa_rankinLissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself. She is on a grass roots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.

Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities – HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


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  • Kris

    Haha! My grace period is most certainly well and truly over! The words “I give up” have come out of my mouth more than once these past few weeks and it’s obviously no coincidence I found this page! My last and final sign! Thank you!!

  • Mr smith

    I don’t think I believe this, I want too but what if your so stuck you can’t see an end in sight?

  • stephen meares

    I missed the whole lot. I dont think i got any signs. Im nearingretirment age and i dont think i did whatever i was supposed to do unless unemployment is a calling also.

  • Jamelyn

    I see signs such as numbers, music, quotations directing me to do one thing. Then I see the same signs saying another direction and to let it go. But my heart is clear and my passion is too. But to follow heart and passion will lead to massive disruption and upheaval.

  • Stephanie

    Yep. End of our grace period, as well. We set out to Washington in 28 days…and have no idea what we will be doing. Trust in the universe is all we can do to keep calm and sane.

  • Sabine Dreßler

    I hear the calling and it’s really time to quit the status quo and spend more time on connecting with people around the world who feel also theirs inner sources, who may spread energy and healing thoughts and much more. I feel the need to spend more time on these revealings and that is my calling to help others to theirs owns connection, to make a difference in this world and use my blessings for a higher goal <3

  • Name Larry Corp(required)

    You say that the universe would never guide u to a decision that isn’t safe.

    Tell that to Jesus. And he is FAR from the only one who was guided to things that were not safe.

    Of course, as u say, life is not YOUR story. We are just a PART of the story….and, unfortunately, some of us get an ugly part to play.