“The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the Lord weighs the motives. Commit your works to the Lord And your plans will be established…”-Proverbs 16:1-3
Have you ever had a panic attack when it was time to place an order at a restaurant? I have.
I was speaking at an event for a summer mission’s program and I was running a bit late. My message was running through my mind, I knew it was a larger group, and I was hungry! I couldn’t control the first two parts of the scenario, but I could grab a bite to eat to calm my stomach noises down.
I found a sandwich shop, you know, because I want to eat healthy (and greasy foods are not ideal before a speaking engagement). Anyway, I stopped at the shop and was behind a gentleman ordering a couple subs, so I had some time to think through my order but again, my message was consuming my thoughts.
I know what I like (i.e. ANYTHING)! It was my turn. I panicked. I seriously saw all the bread choices and got overwhelmed. It took me 3 minutes to decide what bread I would choose and I settled with white. I will eat white bread, but that is definitely not my first choice. Then, they asked the inevitable question, “What kind of sandwich?” I felt sick. I couldn’t figure out what sandwich, but 2 minutes later I decided on “seafood delight” (side note: it was neither seafood nor a delight). Next, the question, “Do you want it toasted?” and I froze. Of course I wanted it toasted, but it was a sandwich with seafood on it, do I toast it or do I eat it plain? I toasted it with hesitancy and it was a poor choice. I got the sandwich, I ate it, but the decisions I made were made with haste and I learned my lesson.
Many times we face decisions that we have to make right away and we have to go with it. We might not have the opportunity to sit on it for a while and weigh out the pros and cons, so whatever the outcome is, we have to accept it and move in the success or failure.
Other times, we are given the opportunity to wait on making a decision. We come to a fork in the road and we have to weigh out what direction we want to choose. It might be a job offer that could offer lousy hours, but great benefits and pay versus a job with decent pay, limited benefits, but great hours. You have to decide what is best for you and your family, if you have one. It could be a college choice you have to make. You could get accepted into the school of your dreams which requires student loans or a lower tier school that is offering scholarships. Which school will benefit you the most?
The reality is, we always have choices to make. It’s how we go about making the decisions. Do we just step without thinking? We could, but that would be unwise. Do we seek counsel from friends and family? That is beneficial, but we have to realize that friends and family will very rarely give unbiased advice.
So, what do you do?
1) Seek God is the first thing anyone who follows Christ should do. Ask God for wisdom and discernment as you wade through the pool of confusion. I wish it wouldn’t look weird to pray over my sandwich decision because I am sure God would have guided me away from the sandwich I chose. God is the ultimate counsel we should seek for decisions in our life. Even Solomon knew that. When he became king God asked him to ask for anything. His response, “I want wisdom.” God was impressed by this request and gave him everything including wisdom. Wisdom from God is essential as we go forward in our decisions.
2) TRUST GOD IS WITH YOU! This is the hardest part of making decisions that carry a large amount of weight in our lives. God is already before us, if we are truly seeking His will. I had a professor tell me, “Bobby, God won’t just open one door, but He will open many. You need to trust that He is where you step. The outcome is in His hands. Trust your steps as long as they are with Him.” God will be there to guide and correct you. If you sought His wisdom, then where you step should already be guided by Him. Trust that.
3) INCLUDE THE BODY! God created us for community. We are made to be with each other and with Him. Seek out those who are prayerful and ask them to join in your journey. Ask them to pray for specific things in your life. If it’s a job, don’t just ask them to pray for the job, but ask them to seek God for the right job for you. Don’t just pray to be accepted in to college, but for you to make the right financial decision when making a choice and to be wise in scholarship choices and loans. Asking the body of Christ to join in the process of decision-making is exactly what the Church should be doing. It creates a bond, a connection, and a web of support to encourage you as you step.
Decisions are hard. I don’t suggest sending out a prayer chain when you’re in line trying to make an order, but perhaps if you meet a person of interest while waiting in line, follow the steps mentioned before rushing into the decision. Remember, seafood delight sounded alright when I made the quick decision, but I paid for it in the end.
May we be wise in our decision making. May we seek God to guide us at the fork in the road. May we find a group of like-minded people who can join us in the journey.
Peace and blessings friends!
QUESTION: Have you ever made a major decision without asking for help? How did it turn out?