Decision opportunities present themselves hourly. Often the decisions have little long-term impact or consequence. Where should we eat? I need to take my car in for an oil change, etc. Though eating and servicing your vehicle are necessary, these decisions do not take much pondering or deep analysis. Then there are those decisions in life that demand introspection, fact-gathering, and counting the cost. Unfortunately, some seem to have things a little backward: everyday choices seem challenging, and significant life-altering decisions are made off the cuff. We all go through a process to determine our options, even if we are unaware we have a process.
Usually, when I am stuck deciding, I will write out the pros and cons of making or not making a particular choice/decision or action. This seems to help me with the matter of clarity, and seeing it written out helps me to quickly see any holes or flaws in my reasoning as to why I should take a specific course of action. We all have defaults in place when we need to make a decision. It may be: “Do I have enough money? Can I make the monthly payment? Is this what I want to do? We all have some process for critical decisions, whether some elaborate process or simply going by feeling alone.
Here is one of the grids that I use for decision-making:
- Trust God! Proverbs3:5-6
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Ask God For wisdom! “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.” James 1:5
Consult with others! “For lack of guidance, a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” Proverbs 11:14
Pray about your decisions! “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
- Trust God! Proverbs3:5-6
There is no perfect plan or perfect process. We have to find tools that help us make the best decision with the information we possess and then live with the consequences. Fortunately, most decisions are not irrevocable—a few are difficult, if not impossible, to undo. In most decisions, if something new develops or something comes to light that we did not know beforehand, we can adjust or modify our decision. To live is to face and make decisions continually. You will be bombarded with choices and options, good, neutral, and wrong. You cannot allow fear of messing up or making the wrong decision to keep you from living and moving forward. If you are a person of faith, comfort and confidence may be found in keeping these four items in your mind and heart: Trust God—Ask God for wisdom–Consult with others, especially folks you have confidence in, and Pray about every decision.
Do not let fear be so all-consuming that you decide to do nothing, which is a decision. If there is something you need to decide on, be proactive, not reactive, and do your research, but in the end, you make a decision and trust God. Once in a while, you need to rework aspects of the decision but do not be afraid to decide on a course of action.