Making decisions is arguably the hardest of tasks we face on a day to day basis. It seems like each choice we make carries the weight to impact the rest of our lives, future careers, and even social or financial successes. Although we spend a great deal of time debating, comparing all the options, and asking for input, we can still be left with a question of uncertainty: How do we know if we are making the right choice?
Well, we don’t need to make right choices. We need to make wise ones.
I recently attended a sermon at Reality LA on the message of “wisdom in making decisions,” delivered by Pastor Jeremy Treat. I can’t think of another time a message resonated so well with me. It was one of those times where I felt like God looked at the entire congregation and then decided the message would be directed at me, personally. However, what Pastor Jeremy had to share is truly relevant to everybody. So, I’m going to share what I’ve learned on ending the epidemic of indecisiveness that plagues all of us decision-makers.
Learning to make wise decisions is laid out in a three step process, the pastor explained.
First, we need to get our priorities straight. If we compile a mental breakdown of what is most important to us, we will have a clearer understanding of how we should decide. Pastor Jeremy says that God teaches us the right priorities and this helps us gain a clear perspective in order to evaluate all our present options. For example, if you’re deciding which job to take, and you know that you value work-place relationships over money, choose the job that fosters better relations between you and your colleagues. Trust God to take care of the money. There’s a lot of factors to consider when making a decision, so it can help to number which factors you will consider most heavily.
Second, we can’t make decisions if we don’t know the type of person we want to be. So the next step is building your character. A good question to ask yourself when making a decision is: “what part of my personality is doing the deciding? Is that who I want to be?” In my case, when I’m deciding whether or not to hit a friend up for coffee, the outgoing part of me says, “go for it!” However, my pride argues, “they should be the one hitting me up.” It’s foolish to be indecisive when we have control over which part of our character is doing the talking. Look at decisions not as what you want to do, but as who you want to be.
Lastly, plugging yourself into a good community is essential. We are not made to tackle life alone. We are meant to have friends and influentials in our lives to seek advice from. Fresh eyes offer objective perspectives, as long as we make sure it’s a wise pair of eyes. Seeking knowledgable opinions from a good friend or group of friends can take off a lot of the pressure.
Although those three steps make deciding a bit less stressful, there will still be times when the choice does not seem clear, and that’s okay. Inevitably, times will come when we need to decide between two very important priorities, or two parts of our character that we truly want to be. When those times come, use God as your number one resource. My pastor emphasized the importance of going to Him, not for answers, but for guidance. As long as we’re following his guidance in accordance with setting our priorities, building our character, and establishing community, we can be sure we are on the right path towards a good decision. When it comes down to this, whichever decision you make will end up being the right one because you are making a decision that represents your values and the will of God.
And if you still feel unsure of your decisions, that’s okay too. Pastor Jeremy made an insightful comment that God will work out His sovereign will not in spite of our decisions, but through them. In other words, even if you think you messed up, God will correct the path and bring you right back to where you are suppose to be.
I’m going to leave you with a quote shared during the sermon.
“If we have a problem, it is not lack of knowledge, but our unwillingness to respond to the knowledge we have.” -Gerald Sittser
If we ask for God’s guidance, He will provide. He will give us the knowledge we need to get to the place we’re going. He may not provide answers, but He will provide a path. We do not need to fret so much about the outcomes of our decisions, because as long as we’re currently seeking God’s will, it will all work out in the end.
Anyways, that’s a little tidbit of what I took away from the message. I definitely left church that day with feelings of endearment and relief. You can listen to the sermon, and many others, at http://realityla.com/teachings/wisdom-in-decisions/.
Thanks for reading!