There is a moment that comes for all of us when we are in the process of making a decision. Now, I’m not talking about little stuff like which banana bunch to select, which gas station to pick, or what you’re going to have to eat that night. I am talking about decisions that matter, ones that impact your life. Not every decision is life-changing, but so many of our decisions make impacts on our lives.
It is really interesting how people make decisions like these. There are some people, like me, that have a gut feeling and don’t really need all the details to jump into something. Now, that can be very exciting, but it can be very dangerous as well. Trust me. Then there are other people, like my wife, who have to have every detail before they decide. They want the best representation of what the future could look like as a result of the decision that they make. They usually take a long time to make a decision, and while jumping into something is not always wise, if you wait too long, you might miss your window of opportunity and pass up something that was perfect for you.
Many millennials I talk to these days have a hard time deciding things. They are programmed to find the very best option and often miss out on things because they are so worried about missing something that might be better. If I commit to this, what if something better comes along?
No matter how you make your decisions, every decision has a ruler. When you enter into that moment where you have to decide on what to do, you always enthrone something. Decisions have a unique way of revealing who we really worship. It is like that moment when you flip the coin. When the coin is in the air, that’s when you discover what you really wanted. Decisions do that. They reveal what we worship.
Think about the last decision you made that was important. Don’t think of frivolous things that didn’t really matter, but something that made an impact. Perhaps a new job opportunity, perhaps move to a different city, perhaps even something like deciding to stretch yourself by giving more, or serving. How did you make that decision to do or not to do what you were deciding? What feelings did you feel? What factors influenced your decision?
When I have to make a big decision, I will typically do a pro/con chart. It helps me to see the good and the bad right in front of my face on paper. As someone who jumps into things occasionally, it really helps to make me slow down and think before I jump. And even more importantly for me, the things on the pro/con chart help me remove emotion from a decision. Wen I take time to pray and think about a decision and then write the pros and cons down on paper, I give myself the opportunity to really understand whether or not something is good for me separate from emotion.
I never want to decide something based on how I feel about the situation, or the decision. And unfortunately, yes, there are times in my life when I have made decisions based solely on an emotion or how I feel about the decision in the heat of the moment. Two things usually come out of a decision like that: First, things don’t seem to go well when I make a decision out of emotion. Things are usually bad. But second, and more importantly, a god is revealed.
In those moments of decision where I allow my emotions to be the deciding factor, I elevate my emotions to a place that only God should have. Maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe for you, it isn’t emotions per se, or how you feel in the heat of the moment, but a deep, overwhelming fear of the outcome. Maybe it is not fear, but rather, a sense of self-reliance, or self-preservation, where your decisions are constantly made by whether or not you are going to be okay when the dust settles. Maybe you decide things based on an assumed guarantee that you aren’t hurt in the process. Maybe you know you should be tithing, but there is this deep fear that if you do, you will not have enough.
Decisions that impact us always reveal what we worship the most.
So then what’s the answer? Is it bad to consider how you feel in the situation? Is it bad to consider how you are going to benefit from a decision? Is it wrong to be concerned with how a big decision is going to impact you, your family, your finances, your quality-of-life, etc.? Of course not. But those things are wrong when they take the throne in your decision making process. That throne has always been and will always be reserved for Jesus.
So I would invite you to do something that I do in my own life now, something we should all be doing: go to God first with the decision. I’ll glasshouse myself for a moment and admit I don’t alway do the best at this, but I try! Rather than wondering how you feel about the decision, ask God how he feels. Instead of wondering how this is going to impact you, ask him how it is going to impact your ability to reach your purpose and potential. Instead of fearing that you won’t have enough, trust God that if he said he would supply all of your needs, then he will.
Making decisions are tough enough, and the enemy is desperate to mess up that process. I find it interesting that while he wants you to make the wrong choice, he would also love to torment you in the decision-making process. What is interesting is that if we allow God to take its proper place in the entire process, not only will we find satisfaction in the deciding, we will find fulfillment in the decision. At the end of the day, this is all about trust in God. So, when the next decision has to be made, and the next choice has to be meted out, who is going to sit on the throne of that process? Will it be fear, self-preservation, worry? Let it be Jesus.