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Decision-making can really keep you up at night. In this post, I want to give you three strategies to solve paralyzing decisions.
My sister, Atalie, recently decided to start working full-time in ministry. There’s a mission organization called International Friendships Incorporated that matches up international students with local families over holidays. They also lead events and Bible studies for students during the school year.
My family has been involved with IFI for several years so they asked Atalie if she would be interested in coming on full-time as a part of their small media team. There was a catch:
She would have to fundraise her entire salary.
Here’s a little tidbit about the Bale family: we are not exactly sales-people. The prospect of convincing enough people that her ministry time was worth their hard-earned money was (and still is) utterly terrifying to Atalie.
She prayed about it, sought out advice, looked at her ministry goals, and made the decision. She just completed training for fundraising strategies last week. This prompted me to think a bit about how we can handle decisions effectively.
How can I solve decisions effectively?
Decision making is so hard! I’m certainly no pro at it. But based on much reading and discussion with others who have much more experience, here are some major strategies to help in the decision-making process.
1. Seek God’s Guidance
If you are a person of faith, this will have much more impact on you. If you are not, I don’t expect that this will make much sense. As a Christian, I believe that God is a divine being that has a plan for my life. I want to follow that plan to the absolute best of my ability. Thus, when making a decision, I want to ensure it’s in line with God’s will.
Henry Blackaby makes some excellent points about decision making in his book Experiencing God. He has four chapters that outline decisions. In them, he describes that God speaks:
- Through the Bible
- Through prayer
- Through circumstances
- Through the church
When these four line up, it is clear that this is the direction God is calling you to go.
It is crucial to look at everything through the lens of the Bible. Even though a decision may appear to be clear, it might not be the right one. Blackaby communicates this warning with this:
Christians often talk about “open” and “closed doors,” asking God to close a door if they are not headed in the right way. While it is admirable to seek indications of God’s desires, the danger in this thinking lies in assuming that God’s will is always the path of least resistance (i.e., the open door).-Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God (p. 113)
2. Seek the input of trusted advisors
The pastor of my church (Pasto D as I call him) has what he calls “A personal board of directors.” Just as a company leader must go to the board of directors to gain their approval of a new plan or large expense, Pasto D does the same. When faced with the decision to move his family from a 45-minute drive to church to a 3-minute commute, Pasto D asked each board member for his or her opinion.
Some members are close friends, some are pastors, one is a physician. They come from different backgrounds and have spoken into Pasto D’s life in some way. They give unique perspectives on how large decisions will affect his and his family’s life.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to develop a personal board of directors. But making a list of people you trust and who have a good reputation will give you some direction when making your next decision. My biggest suggestion (at least to those my age) is to ensure that almost all (if not all) of your advisors are individuals who have a lot more life experience than you. A lot more.
3. Look at your goals and where you want to go in life
Something I’ve recommended in previous posts is developing a life plan based on Michael Hyatt’s book Living Forward.
Hyatt says one of the benefits of creating a life plan and reviewing it regularly is that it will make big decisions easier when comparing to the direction you want to go.
A Life Plan will enable you to filter your opportunities and focus on what matters most. […] Things didn’t change overtight, but I suddently had the clarity—whcih gave me the courage—to manage my opporunities rather than be managed by them. I was finally able to say yes to what truly mattered and no to (almost) everything else.
-Michael Hyatt, Living Forward (p. 49)
Is the decision you’re trying to make taking you in the direction of your long-term goals?
Make a choice and move forward (or stay where you are)
The point is, making decisions is hard but if you don’t let them paralyze you, you will make progress.
One thing I must note as a person of faith is this: Sometimes God’s plan is completely opposite of ours. Look in the Bible for time after time after time where God’s plan didn’t align with their desires—Moses, Elijah, and even Jesus before he was crucified.
Sometimes what want to do is in line with our future plans but not with God’s—and God’s plan should always trump ours.
So easy to say but not easy to live out.
Unfortunately, life is uncertain and decisions still aren’t clear after having made them. Atalie still isn’t sure she’s in the right place. But as the Bible says in Romans,
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
What decision you are trying to make right now?
I want to hear from you in the comments below! And as always, if you found value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!
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