Whenever there's a conflict between what you feel you're expected to do and what you feel you should do, it's time to step back from the decision. Here are five questions to help you gain clarity.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish'?" Luke 14:28-30 (NKJV)
I wasn't in the mood to take on the stress of making another decision. I was just so tired. So spent. Not in the mood to deal with one more thing.
A family friend in her early 20s was looking to move out of her apartment and into a less expensive living situation. We adore this young lady. She's spent a lot of time with our family. She's lovely and no trouble at all.
When she asked to move in with us however, I felt a deep sense of caution. We'd been helping a family member through a difficult situation that required a lot of my time and emotional energy.
But maybe I could do this, too, I thought. My heart was certainly saying yes. But my heart and my reality don't always line up.
So, I knew I needed to take myself through a process of evaluating this decision. And my evaluation would have to include my capacity.
It's good to use wisdom, knowledge and an understanding of your resource capacity to assess your decisions.
In fact, Luke 14:28-30 encourages it: "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish'?"
I ran this situation through the filter of 5 questions:
- Do I have the resources to handle this request along with my current responsibilities?
- Could this fit physically?
- Could this fit financially?
- Could this fit spiritually?
- Could this fit emotionally?
I dug through my purse to retrieve the only paper I could find — a random receipt. I scrawled out a list of things to consider when making this decision.
Did saying yes to this make sense in each of these areas?
- Physically? We had a spare bedroom.
- Financially? Her small rent payment would cover any additional expenses.
- Spiritually? We are Christians, and we want to love other people. This seemed to fall right in line with our core values.
But there was one more aspect to be considered. Could I handle this emotionally? Did I really have the white space to do this and keep an attitude of love?
This is where I felt the most caution. Remember how I was feeling at the time? So tired. So spent.
I've learned to pay attention to my emotional capacity and be honest with myself when I'm stretched too thin. When I allow myself to get overloaded emotionally, the worst version of me emerges. And that's not good for anyone.
As I continued to count the cost and assess my available resources, I felt I should say no. But I also felt I was expected to say yes. Do I go with what I'm expected to do? Or what I feel I should do?
Whenever there is a conflict between what we feel we're expected to do and what we feel we should do, it's time to step back from the decision. And seek clarity from the only source free from entanglements.
Praying for wisdom and considering these 5 questions gave me a peace that God would be her provider. Therefore, my saying yes when I knew I should say no would prevent her from experiencing His best provision.
Amazingly, when I called her to explain why this wouldn't work, she was giddy with excitement over an apartment she'd found that was right in line with her budget.
God provided. He provided my friend with a great living situation. He provided me with another assurance that not every opportunity was meant to be my assignment.
Dear Lord, thank You for providing wisdom whenever we ask for it. Please guide me in the decisions I need to make today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 24:3-4, "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think of a decision you need to make in your life right now. Then, run it through the 5-question filter Lysa talked about today. Remember to be honest about your current commitments and resource availability.