4 Things to Consider When Making Decisions
By Pastor Gordon and Stephanie Smith
Decisions. It’s one thing deciding between chocolate or vanilla ice cream, and quite another to decide a career path, a college, who to marry, where to live, to rent or own, what church to go to, and a myriad of choices that impact the trajectory of our life. Such weighty decisions are never easy!
Most of the time we are like Abraham on the journey, fumbling between “Egypt” and “Bethel” (Gen. 12-13), the place between doubt and trust. We make a covenant with God one day, only to force things the next (Hagar and Ishmael), we intercede for others one week (Sodom and Gomorrah), only to later protect ourselves at the altar of self-preservation (Sarah was more than his sister). Decisions are certainly never easy!
Here are four things to consider when making weighty decisions.
Every Major Decision:
1. Carries a consequence - own it.
It is devastating to purchase a house only to find out down the road there are major structural issues that lead to costly repairs. It’s not that it was a bad decision to purchase the home, but you own it, and the consequences of the purchase are yours. The same can go with the practical decision of taking a new job that pays better but your new boss isn’t that easy to work with. Or a moral decision to fudge the numbers a little to make yourself look better, until your boss starts figuring out things don’t quite add up. Making the right decisions doesn’t necessarily mean an easy life, nor does an easy life necessarily mean we have made the right decisions. Nevertheless, decisions can turn into disappointments quickly, but you have the choice to either be arrogant or swallow your pride and own the consequences of your decisions.
2. Impacts relationships - consider it.
Your decisions are not made in a vacuum void of personal relationships. We often think that the search for God’s will has to do primarily with my career, my future, my desires, my life. The truth is that God’s will has more to do with how we treat others and less to do with our aspirations. When Jesus combines “love God” with “love others,” he’s saying that if you want to know how you treat God, then consider how you treat others. We are a culture obsessed with individuality, but God’s kingdom coming, and His will being done is summed up in plurality; “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.” So, dare to dream big, and achieve those dreams but don’t do it at the expense of others or worse at the expense of the person God is calling you to be. Gaining the whole world but loosing yourself or the ones you love is a loss, not a gain. Consider your relationships.
3. Is an opportunity to grow with God – do it.
I remember the old hymn telling me, “O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!” I suppose Jesus’ prayerful encounter at Gethsemane is an exception to the rule. Praying does not guarantee a life mapped out like a color-by-number picture that is free of mistakes, pain, and disappointments. It is an opportunity to grow with God. Pray because God will transform you into the person God is calling you to be. As you are transformed, you will make an impact in this world and on those around you.
4. Can be redeemed - accept it.
It’s never too late to let God do something beautiful in your life. The past is not a waste, but a launching pad for grace. Never forget that forgiveness is the beginning of redemption, and that Jesus is the Author of such redemption! It is not too late! Accept it!
Our graduates are setting out into the world with hope in one hand and their dreams in the other. It is good for us to remember what that felt like. Let’s seek to encourage them and one another in the faith as we face our own decisions. May we not allow fear to cripple us at the crossroads of life, but rather to let our dreams soar on the wind of hope. The decision is yours.