Called to Choose - Choosing Well
Over the years, I have found five simple steps that have helped me enormously in making difficult choices. Every step is taken in the light of the Holy Spirit guiding, leading, and prompting us. It is in the power of the life and teaching and example of Jesus that we can make these judgments.
The first step in facing a major choice is to consider and weigh the range of options that are available, forming what I call early impressions. The biblical precedent is that there is no need to rush; there is time to think, to weigh things, and to ask for discernment and wisdom. Listening to God as we make our choices is key.
Critical to making good decisions is taking good advice. The Bible urges us to find wisdom through many counselors: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisors” (Proverbs 11:14).
It’s sometimes easy to think that a sense of God’s calling absolves us of the use of our critical faculties. We need to take the time to clarify—to engage our reason—so that we might reflect on what we think has been revealed. The most important aspect of the clarifying process is that we remain open to hearing from the Lord and invite God to speak into our lives. “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths” (Psalm 25:4 ESV) is a great verse to repeat when in the clarifying part of the decision making.
Making a final decision takes a deep breath and conviction. The Bible promises that if we are courageous in pursuing the ways of God, He stays with us. Undergirding all our decisions is this great reassurance: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).
Paul said in his letter to the Philippians that he had “learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). This is about as difficult a lesson to learn as any. I am helped by the fact that he said, “I have learned.” There are clearly times when we make decisions we regret. If I make a mistake, I am always comforted by knowing that I took care in the process: I considered thoughtfully, I sought the counsel of others, I took steps to clarify—and I chose the best available option at the time in the light of the information and alternatives available. We cannot see into the future, so I try not to beat myself up for decisions that don’t end up as I had hoped. I do my best not to linger or indulge in introspective self-examination. But regret is wasted energy, we never know what exciting opportunity might be around the corner.
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