Making decisions: Don't rush!
“A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” - Proverbs 14:15
Sometimes we feel the need to make a decision quickly. But the wisdom writers warn us about that. We may actually have to push pause in our fast forwarding through life to think about where we are going. Solomon gives this warning, “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way” (Proverbs 19:2). If we want to follow God’s way in our lives, we must take time to find out what his way is. If we don’t, Solomon tells us we may miss it.
So, whenever we have doubt about a direction to take, it is better to take time to do a couple of things. First, we can gather information. What skills are needed or what experience do I need in order to do what might be in front of me as an option? What would my life be like if I took this job or chose this college or committed to this responsibility in the church?
Also, we should keep in mind that every choice we make limits future choices. If we buy a house that requires a big monthly payment, for example, we will have less money for other expenses of life. So, as we consider our choices, we should carefully project what we see as the potential consequences of each choice. Often God will use that process to guide our decision. Remember, if we make a decision that is not in keeping with the way of wisdom, we will be limited in making future choices that would be wise to make. If we want to run freely in the path that God has for us, we must not be too quick to decide or to act
We also need to assess our own skills. If we are stepping out on faith into a ministry or job without the skill sets in place, we must ask God for additional confirmation that it is his leading we are following and not simply our own desires. He will either confirm his leading and, in that case, will make a way for us to get the training we need, or he will redirect our steps.
Look at your circumstances.
Circumstances are not the driving force in making decisions, but they may confirm or negate the direction that we are seeking to take.
At one point in my life, I felt a strong desire to go to law school. I investigated what I could learn about the process and sought the advice of one of the most respected corporate attorneys in our town. My past experience, undergraduate education, and skill sets reinforced the feasibility of being able to successfully complete a law degree. However, the circumstances I was in at the time included single parenting of two young girls. As I considered and reconsidered the decision, I knew that relocating them to a law school community would not be reasonable and taking courses by commuting or correspondence would not give me the quality of education I needed to be a top-notch attorney. I weighed all the possibilities and determined that God wanted me to value my daughters and their needs at this vulnerable time in their lives more than he wanted me to make a career move that could hurt them. Once that light dawned, the decision was easy.
Circumstances matter and sometimes can be good road signs along in our decision-making process.
Don’t second guess.
Once we are sure we’ve made a decision that is in keeping with the way of wisdom, we should not second guess ourselves when the going gets rough as this proverb advises, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left, keep your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:25-27). We should stay on the path even if obstacles present themselves, trusting God to be our defender and guide every step of the way.
What decision are you facing right now?
Going to college?
Moving to a new house?
Buying a car?
Reconciling a broken relationship?
Taking on a service opportunity at your church?
Knowing how to deal with a rebellious child?
Deciding a path related to a health issue?
Whatever the decision, large or small, God wants to be involved in the process. Don’t leave him out!