It was in the Spring of the year and love was in the air. On my college campus there was an open area between the men’s and women’s dorms. There was a circle drive for pick up. One evening as I was heading out for the cafeteria, there was a couple sitting in the car discussing where they were going to eat. Each was trying to placate to the other.
“Wherever you want.”
“No. Wherever you want.”
“I don’t care. You choose.”
“I don’t care either.”
I chuckled to myself and went on to eat supper. The line wasn’t too long and I soon enjoyed my meal with a few friends. We laughed and discussed stupid events of the day. I left, having homework, and began to walk back to the room. Instead of taking the short route, I chose to go through the lobby. To do so, I passed by the circle again. Guess who was there? The same couple was still sitting in the car trying to decide where to go to eat. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Out of compassion, I walked up to the car and leaned in to the window,
“Chik-fil-A. Go there now. Each of you pay for your dinner and enjoy the evening.”
He started the car and away they went!
Why are decisions so difficult? We make a thousand of them everyday. However, how much stress do we bring on our lives because of an inability to make them quickly, efficiently, and effectively? We need to learn how to make decisions. Without the ability to properly make decisions we set ourselves up for failure. At this point, let me be clear. Making a decision is simple. Making the decisions that please and honor the majesty of God takes a little more effort. Here are a few examples:
- Eve based her decision on how she felt about the matter. We all know how that ended poorly!
- Ten of the twelve spies based their negative decision on the plain facts of the situation. Forgetting to consider God promised the land.
- The Thessalonians were so wrapped up in Jesus’ returning that they quit working and basically quit living. This decision was solely based on faith. Paul chided them for it and told them work and live until Jesus returns.
The Bible relays a plethora of good and bad decisions. Though there are many examples, there are basically three options on making decisions:
- Facts and Logic
- Feelings and Emotion
- Faith and Spirituality
Too often we believe we can only choose one of these as our way of making decisions. Facts and logic are not used as much as they once were. Pulling together the T-chart with the pros and cons sets up an emotionless moment. Simple. Which side has more? There is your choice. Over-analyzing occurs with this genre of decision-making. The “nth” degree is so far behind you that you can’t even see it in the rear-view mirror. Facts and logic should be a part of the process, but not the sole decision maker. Facts are cold. Logic has no emotion to it. Facts alone only involve what your mind can conceive. There is no faith. There are no emotions.
A very common choice today involves feelings and emotions. With personal preference and fun being a modern-day Baal and Ashteroth, feelings rule the day. How many prom night decisions are based on logic? These decisions, sadly, are based mostly on feelings. “If it feels good, do it” still is a common theme. We make too many decisions based on our personal “fun-meter”. Cooking isn’t fun, so we eat out. Saving isn’t fun, so we put it on credit. Serving isn’t fun, so we attend church where there is little commitment. Parenting isn’t fun, so the children run the house. Marriage isn’t always fun, so we have affairs and divorce. Aging isn’t fun, so we take a little pill or have a nip and tuck. This option, taken alone, is dangerous.
Another, though less common, approach is the faith approach. There is a subtle danger to using this without the influence of the others. Some would wonder why faith alone would be a problem in making decisions. Aren’t we to “walk by faith” and “live by the Spirit”? If that is the case then what is the issue? Using faith alone as a method of making decision removes all involvement of the individual. A young man came to see me one day in need. He had no job. I recommended a couple of openings I knew about at the time. His reply shocked me. He said God was going to give him a job. I asked if he had looked in the paper. He gave the same reply. I asked if he had applied anywhere. He gave the same reply. Faith without works is dead James said. I have faith that God will provide. I also know he gave me two eyes to read the classifieds, two legs to walk to a business, two hands to fill out an application, and a mouth for an interview. Proper decision-making is not just faith, or feelings, or facts.
Good decision-making skills involve a balance of all three. Finding the center of God’s will is similar to finding the center of a triangle. From each tip you draw a line to the midpoint of the facing line. Where all three intersect is the exact center of the triangle. Making good decisions is similar because a balance is required. Whatever the decision, especially the major ones, ask yourself three questions:
- What are the facts about this decision?
- How do I feel about this decision?
- Have I truly spent time communicating with God?
When I spend time and effort in these three areas, without over-emphasizing any of the three I will find peace. In the middle of God’s triangle is peace. When effort is balanced, then inner peace from God’s Spirit prevails and you can make the decision. Do not misunderstand. There will be those decisions that the facts seems to prove negative. All three do not have to be positive to make the decision. There needs to be time and effort involved. The peace to make a decision comes at this moment. When the center is found peace arrives. When peace arrives, the decision can be made without hesitation or fear. The anxiety has ebbed away. The outcome is irrelevant because God is in control at this point. This process puts us in submission to Him and His Will. There you find the peace that passes all understanding.
Making decisions does not have to be hard, it just takes a little time and effort.