Every day each of us faces hundreds of decisions from what to wear to how to respond to a crisis. We’ve all likely been at a place in life in which we realize things have gone horribly wrong and we are tempted to blame someone else for what may be our own faulty decision-making.
In a blog post titled “Recognizing Faulty Decision-Making...and How to Turn it Around,” Tricia Goyer offers five pieces of advice on how we can improve our decision-making process and live out our Christian faith through the decisions daily life requires of us.
Goyer says she starts off by asking herself “Where might I have gone wrong?” This can be a tough question to ask ourselves when we are feeling the consequences of a decision that went awry. It’s much less painful to shift blame, but getting at the heart of why a situation turned out the way it did--and therefore giving ourselves an opportunity to change our decision-making process for the future--is ultimately much more beneficial in the long-term.
Here are Goyer’s five things from which we would do well to steer clear if we are to allow God into our decision-making:
1. Deciding to do something off limits.
Goyer gives the apt example of deciding to drive for four hours straight when she knew she should have stopped for a break. Because of this decision, she ended up totaling her husband’s car. This is a good example of the need to learn how to set limits for yourself: know what you are capable of and don’t think that you need to push yourself past this limit in order to achieve something that is not worth the possible negative consequences. But, if something bad happens, this also doesn’t mean that everything is ruined. “Is there forgiveness available in such situations?” asks Goyer. “Of course.” Dealing with the consequences may be tough, but this also can be a lesson in choosing humility and surrender.
2. Deciding to get involved in something that is none of your business.
Helping others is important and something God calls us to, but we need to be cautious of jumping into situations in which we are meddling more than helping. This, of course, requires discernment, which leads to the third point.
3. Deciding too fast.
If you’re like me and Goyer, who is a self-proclaimed “achievement junkie,” you may often face the temptation of making a decision too quickly because you want to make progress and see things getting done and moving forward. A cure for this is to remind ourselves to seek counsel--both from God and from others--before taking action.
“Only in hindsight do I realize that I left key people out of the decision process,” writes Goyer. “Often, I’ve failed to pray, seek wise counsel, and listen for the Holy Spirit to lead before taking action.”
4. Waiting too long to make a decision.
This is the opposite of #3, but just as important to try to avoid. Sometimes we are faced with what feels like too many options. It’s overwhelming, especially for someone who likes to weigh all the options and make the perfect decision. But waiting too long to take action can also be an indication of fear, which is not from God. When we hesitate too long we are often thinking overly much about our own reputation and relying too much on being a perfectionist rather than relying on God and stepping out in faith.
5. Responding wrongly when someone else’s decisions affect you.
Sometimes, there are cases when you do everything right and negative consequences still play out because someone else messed up. When this happens, it is a natural, human response to want to get angry, to blame others, and to become bitter. But responding to situations like these also present us with a choice: Will we allow anger and bitterness to take over or will we allow God to work through the situation?
Making wise decisions isn’t easy. We have no easy-to-follow handbook, but we do have God’s Word, we do have the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and we do have God’s promise that anyone who asks God for wisdom will receive it (James 1:5). We also have the wisdom of others. We are not without resources and we can be sure that God can use any circumstance to teach us and draw us closer to Him.
How can you make wiser decisions in this new year?
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 11, 2017
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com