Decisions. What was one of the best decisions you ever made? Was it to marry your spouse or move to that place or buy that house or take that job or attend that school or try that sport or say hello? On the flip side, what was one of the worst decisions you ever made? In either case, reflecting back on that time, how did you make that decision? If you’re like most people, chances are that you don’t really have a solid answer to that question. Maybe it was a gut feeling or a recommendation from a trusted person, or it was about money or the wisdom you had gained or ignored from prior experience. Maybe you prayed and then decided to take a leap of faith.
Most of the time, we don’t really consider all the factors that actually come into play when we make decisions. There are lots of them. Whether you have to decide where to go for dinner, which job to take, or whether or not to take grandma off the ventilator, decisions involve multiple layers of reasons and considerations. While there are times that it may be crystal clear what God wants you to do, there are many times that it’s less obvious.
So you lose sleep. You debate. You flip coins. You eat whole bags of M&M’s. Decisions are complicated, even for people who are trying to follow God. And they can be paralyzing too
But for the times you don’t know what to do, what if there were a better way to make those big decisions?
The bad news is that when it comes to decision-making, there is no absolute formula to follow that will determine what you should do. But what you can do is dig into the factors that are coming into play, affecting your decision-making. Of course, God will never desire for you to do something that goes against what he says in his Word.
Each of us has the power to create reasons. We can come up with good reasons to do just about anything—from eating chocolate donuts to bungee jumping off cliffs.
But if you ditch the surface-level response and look deep inside yourself, what is really driving you? What is the real reason you are leaning towards that choice? If you take that job, is it more about the money than the work you’ll be doing? Are you afraid of looking stupid or being talked about by family members? Do you really love him or really just love the idea of being married?
Open your heart and be honest with yourself. And seek out some trusted counsel who will also tell you like it is and what they see. Proverbs 19:20 says “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
When Jesus speaks of the wide and narrow gates in Matthew 7:13-14 (“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.")
He was not saying “there is one path for your life so don’t mess up” but that rather that his path will often be the harder one. Sometimes you will have two good choices, two ways to serve God, two equally suitable jobs. In that case, pick one. And if things don’t turn out perfectly, that doesn’t mean God wasn’t in it.
Far from being sources of anxiety and sleepless nights, decisions are amazing opportunities for us to celebrate the gift of free will and the many things that influence our thoughts and actions. It’s here, in the space and complications of choices, that we have the ability to dive deep into how we tick, who we are, and who God is calling us to be.