Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets!
“Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do, and I will obey you faithfully; teach me to serve you with complete devotion.” Psalm 86:11 (GNT)
I love movies. One of my favorite films from 2016 was “London Has Fallen.” In the opening sequence, Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart are jogging when Echart’s character asks Butler’s character what he’s made of. “Bourbon and poor choices,” Butler responds.
Poor choices and bad decisions are basically the same thing, aren’t they?
When was the last time you made a really bad decision? Maybe one you knew even at the time wouldn’t turn out well for you? Or perhaps you struggle with making decisions at all because you’re afraid of making the wrong choice.
We see examples of this all around us:
Rushing into relationships without taking the time to really get to know the other person and what your compatibility will be when the initial infatuation wears off.
Upending our life and the lives of our families by taking a job halfway across the country simply for the lure of more money without considering the long-term potential impact.
“Going along with the crowd” even when we know it’s wrong, simply to be liked or to “fit in” with a specific social circle.
Hesitating to step through a new door God has opened because we’re afraid of what may be on the other side.
Whatever example you might have, making decisions can be difficult. Decisions require us to choose – meaning “this direction, not that one” or “this person, not those others.” For some, making decisions feels as though they are somehow losing out, that a decision limits their possibilities. Others are driven by fear, afraid of making a mistake or of the possible consequences.
Scripture has many stories of men and women dealing with difficult, life-altering choices.
Consider the decisions Joseph faced during the birth and early life of Jesus: accepting that Jesus was not his biological son, trusting Mary’s word that she had not been unfaithful, believing the angel’s revelation that God was Jesus’ father.
Or the events surrounding Paul’s conversion, transforming from a harsh enemy of the early Christian movement into one of its most convicted and inspiring leaders. Completely changing the course of his life – and eventually leading to his own execution – all because he heard a voice.
And can we even imagine the decision Abraham faced when asked by God to sacrifice his own son, a son he had waited years to welcome into the world?
Looked at the wrong way, decision-making can seem at best a “hit or miss” exercise and at worse a “no-win” scenario. Yet, the Bible points us to a pathway for making solid decisions, confident that the outcomes are aligned with God’s plan.
Here are few thoughts to help decision-making an easier, less stressful process.
- God longs to help us. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God wants to lead and guide His children into making good decisions: “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Whether it’s what job to take, or who to marry, God is ready and waiting to help us make better decisions.
- Spend time with God. “Your ears will hear a word behind you, saying ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left,” God tells His people in Isaiah 30:21. There really is only one way to know God’s Will and make sure our decisions match His plan: spend time with Him. Read scripture, talk with and pray to God for guidance, listen for His voice.
- God will answer in His time. In Psalm 37:7, David proclaims: “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Let’s face it, it’s natural to pray about something and want an immediate answer. Sometimes, God doesn’t offer a response right away. This can be to give us time to think, or perhaps what seems to be no answer is His way of saying “not now.” Either way, don’t give up or back away from leaning into God – He always answers.
- Seek God’s wisdom and the counsel of others. Whenever God speaks to you about a decision, regardless of how unpopular it might be with friends or family, always go with what God says. Jesus, quoting the Book of Deuteronomy, tells the pharisees in Matthew 22:37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” God always comes first. However, if God hasn’t directly answered you about a decision, it may be His way of suggesting you ask other people for advice or help. Proverbs 13:10, Hebrews 10:24, and James 1:19 are just a few examples.
Making better decisions starts by putting God and His word first in your life. Trust in His wisdom and you’ll find yourself always putting His will in the center of your decision-making, which inevitably leads to better decisions. And when we make better decisions, we’ll find we will live with fewer regrets!
May God always guide your path.