Thinking Out Loud

The Dilemma of Decisions

If you know me, I hate making decisions. I am a hopeless contradiction because certain things I know right away I like or don’t like. For instance, I like almond butter and dislike celery. Other, more pressing issues in life have me trumped. After I graduated, I was so overly concerned with picking a college that I probably asked everyone I knew where I should go. Once I survived the emotional roller coaster ride called college, I was in the dilemma about where to move. Once I moved, I was stressed out about getting a good job. After I chose a job that I thought would become my career, it didn’t work out so I was overwhelmed with alternative options (and continue to be). I was (and am) so afraid of making decisions out of fear I’ll end up living in regret after the fact. I suffer from a severe case of FOBO: Fear-Of-Better-Options.

I worry about every little piece of life that everything becomes a stressful decision leaving little room for peace itself. I am so concerned about the future result of my current decision that I do not quite realize the pain I am presently experiencing! Let’s differentiate decision making here: Feelings vs. Faith. When I rely on my feelings or emotions to make decisions, I end up in a mental tangle because “the heart is deceitful above all things” and blurs my judgment (Jer. 17:9, NIV). When I logically try to figure out what is most practical, I wind up in a stalemate because I come up with just as many pros as cons or get frightened by the worst case scenarios.  “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:7, NIV). My fleshly desires are not God’s holy desires for me so I need to let him lead by the Spirit if I want to experience “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7, NIV).

Newsflash: Life will never stop giving you options and facing you will decisions. As a Christian, the best part about that is you never have to make them alone! I went over to my pastor’s house the other day and was telling him how I try to pray, asking God to lead my decision making, but I don’t feel like I ever get an answer. I wanted God to give me a sign or a notion about what I should do in a recent, life-changing decision I was making. I didn’t want to be a Gideon and ask God to confirm his will so I could see it before being confident that it was “good”, but I was so uncertain. Both decisions caused me to lose things/people I love which hurt to think about. My pastor simply asked me which decision gave me the most peace; not which one made me feel good, not which one made the most logical sense, not the one that my family or friends were in favor of…which decision would put me in a place to experience God’s peace? Decision made.

Faith is believing in what you cannot see with confidence: “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinth. 5:7, NIV). I had to let go of practicalities and faithfully rely on God to pave the way even though I had no idea how this decision would play out. God does not (usually) answer prayers directly, he puts people and circumstances in your life to help guide you. God is not going to light up the “right” path with flaming arrows signaling you in the direction you should go because “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). How relieving is that!? You cannot step in and out of God’s will based on a “wrong” decision if you are one of his sons/daughters. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV). I can get just as frustrated knowing God will be with me wherever I decide to go (because that means I still have a decision to make), but it really takes the pressure off. Be free and walk in faith!

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