Decisions…How Do I Make the Right One?
Ashton at University of Alabama
This week Ashton and I spent spring break visiting two of the last few colleges she’s considering for the fall. (If you follow me on facebook, you know what an adventure our trip turned out to be – tornado warnings, closed campuses, missed flights, etc…!) She has some wonderful opportunities before her, which means she has a big decision to make by the May 1st deadline.
Big decisions bring big emotions: excitement, fear and confusion, to name just three. So the question looms….
How does my daughter – or anyone, for that matter —determine God’s plan when the options seem equally compelling? You may not be trying to discern God’s will about where to attend college, but you (or someone close to you) may be in the middle of your own decisions. Should we put our kids in public school or private? Take this job or that one? Rent or buy? Move or stay? Choose one course of medical treatment or another? Speak up or remain quiet? The list of important decisions we make in a lifetime is nearly endless.
Are there any principles that can help guide our decisions so we don’t end up making stupid mistakes or unwise choices? Yes! Read on for my list of 5 essentials for making good decision….
1. Pray for wisdom.
I’m always surprised that more people don’t ask God for wisdom first. Listen, if you knew you had access to someone who knows the future and all possible contingencies, wouldn’t you ask for that person’s advice? Of course you would! Through prayer you have access to the God who knows all things, and knows you better than you know yourself. He wants you to ask Him for wisdom. Even better, He promises that if you ask for wisdom, He’ll give it.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously…
and it will be given to you.”
2. Determine to do whatever God reveals.
JP always says “life is so much easier when we first determine we’re going to do whatever God wants us to do, then it just comes down to figuring out God’s will. Otherwise we’re left trying to figure out God’s plan AND figuring out if we’re going to follow it.”
The ability to discern God’s best for your life is largely determined by your commitment to follow His plan for your life. This means you need to seek God’s direction from God’s Word and decide ahead of time to follow it. Some people have the “God, show me your will, then I’ll decide if I want to do it” attitude. Others forge ahead thinking, God, this is what I’m going to do, so bless it. Neither puts you in a position to truly discern God’s best for your life.
Do you want to know God’s will? Determine now to obey whatever He reveals.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
3. Get as much information as possible – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Good decision come from good advice. Sometimes, however, we can filter the advice we receive through the grid of what we want to hear, rather than the whole truth. The biggest career mistake I ever made came because I did precisely this. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but in retrospect I realized I surrounded myself with people who told me what I wanted to hear, rather than what I needed to hear. I learned the hard way to explore options from all angles.
To make sure you’re seeing the whole picture make a pro/con list. If either side is lacking, you may not have all the necessary information to make a wise decision.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
4. Go with your Spirit-filled “gut”.
Many decisions—most, in fact—are not ones where we must decide right over wrong, but rather a good choice over the best choice. These are the tricky ones. I mean, does God really care which college I attend? Or whether or not I home school my kids? Or if we bring an aging parent to live with us, or hire a caregiver? Or if we buy the house on Main Street, or the one on Elm Street?
Let me share with you a verse I shared with my daughter, Kylie, when she was faced with a big decision a few years ago. It’s become of her favorites…
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
Psalm 37:22-23 NLT
God does care about the details. If it’s important to you, it’s important to Him.
If you’re seeking God, and truly desire to please Him, do whatever seems best, knowing that He directs your steps and He delights in every detail of your life. If you accidentally end up going the wrong direction, He’s big enough to lead you in the right one.
5. Rarely make a decision based on pure emotion.
If you’re feeling emotional, hormonal, fearful or stressed, give your decision a day or two to settle. The worst decisions are almost always born out of emotional reactions rather than thoughtful actions.
“Wise people think before they act”
So, what big decision do you have in your life? How can these principles help guide you?
Here’s a prayer I prayed for myself as I considered a decision this morning. Maybe it will help you, too…
I need Your wisdom. Thank you that You want to give it to me. What an awesome privilege to be able to ask You for help and guidance, and know that in your timing, You will show me what to do. I offer myself as a living sacrifice, and I commit to follow however You lead. Guide me through Your Word, through wise advice of godly people, and through divine circumstances that only You can orchestrate. Thank you, God, that you delight in every detail of my life and that as I walk through life, You hold my hand.
If you are facing a big decision, let me know. I would love to pray for you, as I am praying for myself and for my daughter.
More than a Bible teacher, Donna is a self-described Bible explainer. A colorful storyteller who combines Biblical truth with real-life anecdotes, her messages not only help listeners understand God’s Word, but most important, grasp how to live it out in real life.