There was once a man who wanted to find a trustworthy and righteous woman for his son to marry. So, he said to his servant, “go to this particular country and bring back a good woman for my son to marry”. The servant departed and must have wondered to himself along the way, “how shall I decide where to go to find a woman? How will I know if she is good? What if I choose someone who my employer’s son does not like?” (1).
What a predicament! Can you imagine having to make this decision on your own, with no guidebook or mentor to help you? But that’s just what you and I do every day. We often face life altering decisions: Should I quit my job? Is it wise to take out a loan for this car? Is this the right time to go back to college? How should I deal with this relationship issue?
Research shows that that we make an average of 2,000 decisions every hour, or 35,000 per day (2). Is it even possible to have full confidence in your every choice of action?
The easy answer that we may have heard before is to “let go and let God make the decision for us”, but is that easy answer even realistic?
It may seem simple, to involve God in our decision making. After all, we are told to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and he will direct our paths (3). Yet you’ll probably agree that more often than not, we find ourselves basing decisions on our own judgement and either ignoring God, forgetting to include Him, or actively cutting Him out.
So, without stating the obvious: “don’t forget to pray about it” (4), what are some other helpful tools to use so that we can feel less overwhelmed, more confident in our choices, and not forget to include God?
1. Don’t eat.
While that might seem a bit silly, there’s more ways to bring something before God than just by praying. Serious decisions call for serious action, and showing God that you mean business by humbling yourself before Him with fasting can be a mighty tool. There are hundreds of examples in the Bible of people facing big decisions who fasted to bring the situation before God. Check out Ezra 8:21 to see what I mean.
2. Pretend you’re on a game show.
Seriously- phone a friend! In the game of life, that option is unlimited. Seeking wise counsel from others is a sure-fire way to make the right decision (5). However, just because a person is in a position of authority or in a titled role similar to the situation your dealing with doesn’t always mean they are a good choice (6). Ever read the book of Job? His friends he was counseling with were the opposite of wise!
3. Read the manual.
Ever tried to put together a piece of furniture from Ikea without using the manual? Where does that screw go? Why do I have three left over braces? You get the point. We wouldn’t want to make choices about something we don’t know without a manual, so why would we ignore searching the “life manual” for an answer (7)?
Decisions don’t have to be a struggle; they don’t have to stress us out or make us anxious. We don’t have to make them on our own or take a “shot in the dark”. As we can see, there are many tools available to us to make the right choice in any situation, and to make it with confidence. We just have to be willing to put in the work!
Want more on this topic and to explore what to do when facing two good options or two bad options? Here is our article on Choosing a Path.
(1) Genesis 24:10-27, (2) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stretching-theory/201809/how-many-decisions-do-we-make-each-day, (3) Proverbs 3:5-6, (4) James 1:5, (5) Proverbs 11:14, (6) Job 32:9, (7) Acts 17:11