How we decide what to do matters. The average person makes around 35,000 decisions a day. Most of them are small, but some hold considerable weight and consequence. The big decisions obviously impact our trajectories, but so do the little ones when they’re all added up.
Emily P. Freeman, in her book The Next Right Thing, addresses the decision-making process in detail. When faced with difficult decisions, she asks the following question: Am I being led by love or pushed by fear? In other words, are you trusting God to help you take the next step even if it’s scary, or are you going to sit back and let fear keep you from moving forward?
Years ago, the opportunity presented itself for my husband and me to step into full-time ministry. It was an exciting opportunity, but it came with an out-of-state move, meaning we would have to leave behind all we’d known together to that point. This new role would allow our family to be a part of something meaningful, which was more appealing than the fear of leaving the life we’d built. Yet, we were so comfortable in our familiar rhythms that the idea of living in a new place and having to create new routines made us second-guess ourselves. After much prayer and discussion, we went ahead with the move, and all these years later, we’re so glad that we did. God used those six and a half years to grow our marriage and our children’s relationships with one another in so many ways. If we had let our fears hold us back, we would have missed some of the sweetest and most vital lessons we needed to learn.
I share this with you to say…you never know what hangs in the balance with each decision you make. While yours may not involve a job change or out-of-state move, God is still using the decisions you face to reveal things about Him and yourself that you may not be able to experience otherwise.
Take inventory of your current life situation and any decisions you’re facing. As you consider each decision, ask yourself if any of them are causing you to be pushed by fear instead of led by love, trusting God to guide you. If so, what are they? Write them down, along with the fears you’re holding onto. And then find a trusted friend to talk through your list and pray through the process.
Father God, Your word tells us that You establish a person’s steps. I pray this will be true for me as I walk through today. When I have a decision to make, will you give me a spirit of decisiveness and the courage to follow through as You lead me? Thank You for loving me no matter what. Amen
Emily P. Freeman’s approach to decision-making in her book, The Next Right Thing, is simple, well thought out, and takes the anxiety out of life’s decisions. It’s an excellent read for those of us who can get overwhelmed with all the decisions life throws our way. The accompanying journal is an excellent option for anyone wanting to put the book’s teachings into action. And if you cover decision-making with your mentoring group, this is the book to use!
Andy Stanley has long been a proponent of helping people use different filters to make wise decisions. His sermon series Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets walks us through five questions we should ask ourselves when faced with any decision. It’s a great listen to help you develop a decision-making filter for yourself or have one you can share with your mentees. There’s also a book version if you prefer to read it.
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