Making Godly Decisions

Have you ever been in the position of having two really good options at the same time? And each has advantages and disadvantages unique to that path alone? Knowing in your heart of hearts that one of the paths is where you want to step out boldly in God’s calling, but, out of habit, you begin drifting back to the comfort of the familiar, the predictable, the safe?

I begin to question whether allowing fear to step in undermines my faith in God’s plans. I believe I have a strong faith, but in situations of fear and the unknown, I tend to want to steer. To cast my own safety net under the tightrope of God’s calling as a backup plan in case I fail.

God’s calling doesn’t promise success. The fruit comes in the way we approach the decision itself. Did we lean in and listen to God, or did we build walls around our hearts out of fear and trepidation of the unknown?

Whose plan am I tending to? Whom am I allowing to steer my course? If I choose to ignore God’s tug on my heartstrings, what will happen? Will I relish the safety of my current path, even if it feels complacent, or will I always wonder, “What if?”

Will He bring another opportunity around, or is this it?

complacency | a feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, often combined with a lack of awareness of pending trouble or controversy (Your Dictionary).

What was waiting for me down that other path? What would my life have been like? How would my faith have been strengthened? What will it look like to boldly commit to one path over the other? These are the questions I imagine will follow.

When I pray, one path stands out. But my tendency to over-analyze naturally begs the question, “How? How will this all work out if I pursue God’s call?”

In this moment, I realize I’ve been directing my question of “How?” all wrong. I’ve been asking it of myself when I should be directing it to God. God knows the specific answer. He has always known. And it is not for me to know those details right now.

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18, NIV)

I think of what I stand to lose at each path, and what I stand to gain, while reminding myself to be grateful to have a choice at all. I pray how my decisions will affect those I love and whether they’d be resilient in the face of change. Who, ultimately, will gain from my decision?

I pray desperately for clarity and peace, but it seems this is one that I’ll just have to live out to find out, as peace might just hold out until the decision has already been made, and clarity may follow suit only in the hindsight of my decision.

“Sometimes a little CHANGE can open your world to BIG possibilities.” (Rachel Bright, The Koala Who Could).

What decisions are you facing today? How will you allow yourself to boldly follow God’s call in the midst of facing your big decisions? I’d love to hear how you approach the process, especially when following God’s call involves taking a big risk and venturing into the new and unknown.

Approaching Indecision with Prayer

Raise your hand if you suffer from decision fatigue.

Guilty over here.

And because I cannot always trust myself to make decisions confidently, I put them off. I procrastinate and then second-guess my original choice or hold out in case something better comes along. It’s the reason that despite a better-than-perfect GPA in grade school, I always dreaded taking multiple choice tests, always narrowing my options down to two and then talking myself out of the correct answer by overanalyzing the choices.

One Sunday in early April, my husband and I found ourselves in the left lane on the interstate behind a white Honda Accord whose right turn signal had been on for quite awhile. Jerry Seinfeld called a similar situation the “eventual left.” I checked our blind spot – nothing was even coming. And yet the Accord remained firmly planted in its spot in front of us. When it finally decided to make a move, the Kia Sorento in front of it got over at the exact same moment, and the Accord quickly retreated to its original position.

Indecision and second-guessing can literally drive us to doubt our own ability to make decisions. We wonder which lane will get us there faster (Office Space, anyone?) or more successfully. We waffle between our different choices, even if both are good, even if both will still lead us forward, when really we just need to pause.

We lose ground in the waffling, but never in the pause.

A pause offers us the chance to pray, listen, and bring our indecisions and uncertainty to God, the only true voice of clarity. And once He gives us clear indication, we can put our signal on and go confidently in that direction, not paralyzing ourselves in questioning God’s call.

5 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. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5-6, NIV)

Friends, let us pause in those moments when we are unsure, before we make our decisions public, in prayerful obedience, and move forward only when we know that we are aligning ourselves with God’s course for us.

Today, consider your own tendencies. Do you waffle in indecision and second-guessing, do you make bold signals even at the expense of acting prematurely, or do you just slow down to pause, seeking God for His direction?

I’d love to hear your reflections in the comments below.

We need healthy pauses.

How many decisions do you think you made today?

At a statewide counselors’ conference earlier this year, I attended a session (wearing my infant) where our icebreaker was to write out every decision we had made just in the previous 15 minutes. I left the room to nurse my sleepy baby and by the time I returned, the participants were already deeply engrossed in their lists. The point of the exercise was to show us just how many small decisions we make, all day, every day. It’s no wonder that our decision-making ability is finite and by the end of the day, we’re exhausted by all the small decisions that brought us to that point.

Those were just minor, everyday decisions. Now ask yourself – when was the last time you truly stopped and listened before moving forward with a big decision or action?

This is where we can use a pause. You might pause to pray, to think, to decide, to listen, to discern, to breathe, to react, to consider, and to protect your time.

If you’re like me, the habit of pause might not be one you practice often enough.

With this space, I’ll help you create a habit of pausing in every small, great, and wild moment that life brings. Pausing allows us time to savor the precious fleeting moments of life – the seasons, the senses, the memories that happen in the white space – if we just allow ourselves to stop long enough to notice them, to be aware of them, and to name them when they’re happening.

Pausing also affords us time to consider our next best steps in whatever decisions we face. It reminds us to catch our breath, pray, and truly listen for direction. It keeps us from speaking and acting out of haste, which can lead to regret and miscommunication. We are so impressionable, and without taking the time to pause and truly listen for our own unique calling, we run the risk of being influenced by what others are doing around us.

I hope that you will join with me as I offer healthy moments for you to pause in whatever season you might be facing. Leave a comment below to share how or when you use pauses in your own decision-making processes.

In the meantime, I’ll hope you’ll join me over on Instagram @tendingwild.

TEND | to care for, inclined to be, to move, direct, or develop one’s course in a particular direction.