when you can’t see the wood for the trees



We’ve all been there – lost and unsure, wondering which direction to take, what decision to make. Ideas loom up large as trees, yet we cannot  see the way ahead, nor barely find the light hidden within the foliage.

As we examine our lives we can see a mixture of the old and new; some things feel fresh and vital and others seem stale and lifeless. Maybe they are signs to point the way ahead?

Guidance can feel like walking down a long dark tunnel with only a tiny match to light the path before us. We long for further clarity. God usually gives us just enough light for the next step we need to take.

Beyond that all is black to our eyes. How can we have hope and joy when we feel so uncertain? It helps to remember the walk of faith is exactly that – not a quick jog or a drive-through. We will walk slow at times, falter and fumble our way into the future, though as long as we keep on keeping on we are making progress.

But that doesn’t mean God isn’t with us for every step we take. He is the silent companion for all our days,  whispering words of comfort, offering help just when we need it. And we have His covering of grace, wisdom and discernment which grows stronger as we press on and push past our reservations.

Fear will keep us glued to the spot but faith will help us to march on regardless. The more accustomed we are to holding onto the hand of God in daily life, the more we grow used to the way He leads and guides.

During times when you can’t see the wood for the trees, take note of what seems dead, what appears to be dying back and what is still showing signs of life and vitality.

There are hints wrapped up in life’s seasons and whispers given with each new thing. Our task is to pray, search the Scriptures, ask God to reveal His will for us, keep our eyes and ears open for all the ways in which He chooses to speak.

We may hear a direct word which appears to leap off the pages of our Bible. We might be listening to a sermon, or having a conversation where our heart jumps in recognition at something we hear.

We could be quietly carrying on with our everyday lives, preoccupied with a mindless task, perhaps, and suddenly sense God speaking to us. It’s a good idea to have a pen and paper handy or use a phone to record those thoughts. They could be really useful in the days or months ahead. This is a great tip for writers especially, so we don’t lose those sudden flashes of inspiration!

There is always new life emerging from what seems dead or dying, although some days we have to deliberately seek it out. Even our hopes, dreams and plans can experience a lay-off season and be followed by a resurrection of sorts. Our journey into joy will be fraught with obstacles, yet we can negotiate them all with God beside us.


Welcome to #day1 of 31 days of journeying into joy. I’m so pleased you are here! Thank you for joining me.

Do make yourself known in the comments below, and share what you are writing about this month…  🙂



12 thoughts on “when you can’t see the wood for the trees

  1. Oh Joy, I so needed to hear this thought this morning: “There are hints wrapped up in life’s seasons and whispers given with each new thing.” Too often I skip over the hints and the whispers, when the loudness of life is shouting at me instead. Thank you for these sweet words of encouragement! And congratulations for pointing out the way on this Journey into Joy for all of us! Love your #Write31Day topic! 🙂 xoxo

    • Bettie, it can be hard to discern the hints and whispers when a world shouts so loud, but we can learn to tune our spiritual antennae when we practice sitting in God’s presence. I’m a poor guide, but I will try to do my best to point the way toward journeying into joy as God reveals things for me to write in the days ahead! Looking forward to catching up with your post later, lovely friend. xox ❤

  2. Joy, this is lovely and full of truth. Sometimes we do have to look hard to find the joy, but God is always right there with us. “Even our hopes, dreams and plans can experience a lay-off season and be followed by a resurrection of sorts.” This reminds me of poem I wrote 2 years ago that came from a conversation I had with one of my daughters. I’d like to share it with you. God bless!
    There is a kind of death
    Asleep for a time

    Then disturbance
    A breaking forth

    An awakening
    A new life

    A bursting flame of color
    Opening up to the sun

    Ready to bloom

    • Gayl, thank you so much for sharing your lovely poem with me! I will be pursuing more about how God answered a God-sized dream for me in a future post. Life does spring forth from what seems dead. Stay hopeful, my friend, especially if you’re in a season of waiting. xo

  3. THIS: “Fear will keep us glued to the spot but faith will help us to march on regardless.” Psalm 30:5 is one of my absolute fave verses. You’ll have to check it out.

    • Tara, I love Psalm 30:5 as well. Such soul soothing words to reassure us of joy’s return always being available for us! Bless you for being here and for reminding me of this great truth. 💜

    • Laurie, I think I need this writing exercise to let the light in during a season when my focus is usually on mourning its loss! Your company here is warmly welcomed. Do pop by whenever you can. xo

  4. I am following your 31 Days, Joy. I have been on a journey of grief for almost 10 months, and a 17 year adventure of a heightend awareness of God, Your words, ” God usually gives us just enough light for the next step we need to take” resonated so true for me. He knows what we need and when we need it. And I am so grateful that He is so attentive to our needs. I am sharing a 31 Days series about Miracles with Anna Smit. We look forward to featuring your story on Monday. May God bless all the writers and readers!
    Anna: http://bit.ly/2dIlluj MIne: http://bit.ly/2dtPgIW

    • Hi Debbie, it’s lovely to meet you! I’m honoured to be one of the writers participating in your joint series about miracles. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing some of your own story here. I popped over to your blog but couldn’t spot where to subscribe, unfortunately. But I do already know Anna pretty well and follow hers. May God bless you both in this endeavour, to His praise and glory! And bring hope and encouragement to your readers as they absorb and digest this inspiring series. Blessings to you, new friend.

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