Decisions, Decisions

Carol DunfeeFaith0 Comments

Do you remember the first major decision you ever made on your own? My first memorable decision happened in my senior year of high school when I had to decide which college to attend. I was a typical teen, thinking I knew much more than I did…but this decision baffled me. I knew that the college I chose would affect the trajectory of the rest of my life.

I struggled with the pros and cons of each college. I wondered how much my friends’ college choices should affect me. How on earth could I forsee the future enough to make the right choice.

My dad came to my rescue. No, he didn’t choose for me, although I almost wished he would. But he gave me advice that I still follow today. I’m no longer worried about what college to attend, but these steps have helped my husband and I decide which car to buy, which job to take, where to live, and more. This advice even helped me choose to marry my husband!

Research as much as possible.

If you are looking at buying a house, research the local market. Talk to people in different neighborhoods. Listen to your realtor. Examine every finance option. Visit weekend open houses to learn which houses you like or don’t like. When you find a house you like, follow your home inspector to learn everything you can about that home.

If you are considering marriage, learn as much as you can about that person. Observe how he treats his family members. Listen to what other people say about him. Visit him at work to see how he interacts with his boss and co-workers. Watch how he handles money.

No matter what the decision, learn as much as you can about your options. Seek wise council from more experienced mentors at every turn.

Examine the benefits and costs of each option.

As you try to process all the information you have collected, ask yourself these questions.

  1. What will I lose by choosing this option?
  2. What will I gain by choosing this option?

A new job might provide extra money, but will require longer hours. You would gain income, but lose free time. When my husband decided to go back to school, we lost income in the short term, but he gained expertise that has provided additional income in the years since graduation.

Learn what others lost or gained by making similar choices. Their insight will be invaluable to your decision!

Identify your core values.

Every choice has consequences both positive and negative. You have to decide which values are most important. Sometimes those values are obvious right vs. wrong issues.When we moved to Alaska, we gained a ministry opportunity, but we lost our close proximity to family. The call of God was stronger than the pull of family, so we chose Alaska.

Other times, the values are based on personality and preference. My husband and I value quality family time, so when our kids were babies, I made the decision to work from home. Another friend of mine valued financial security, so she entered the work-force after a few years. While we both made good decisions for our families, they were influenced by our different priorities. 

Only by becoming absolutely neutral will you be completely free to recognize His guidance.

Give your desires back to God.

By this stage of decision-making, you probably have a strong inclination to choose one option over another. This is where it gets hard. You must give that inclination back to God. You must hold it very loosely so that you are observant to His leading.

I really struggle with this stage. Sometimes it takes more than a simple prayer to become neutral. It might take many prayers over time. It might take the prayers of trusted friends. It might even take some fasting to get the point of wanting God’s choice more than your own.

Only by becoming absolutely neutral will you be completely free to recognize His guidance.

Act decisively when God reveals His will.

Sometimes God answers in a whisper, through a small nudge, or through circumstances. Once you sense His direction, act in faith.

When we made the phone call that would define our decision about moving back to Alaska, we were both pretty neutral. During the conversation, my husband felt a nudge in the direction of Alaska. He agreed to take the job that would start in four weeks. In the next month, God caused every last detail to fall into place…from finishing a home remodel to securing a new house to live in. God helped us sell a vehicle, hold a moving sale, pack our belongings, and find a realtor. Each day, dear friends showed up on our door to help us pack. It was truly a miracle that everything happened in such a short time.

Decisions can be emotionally and mentally draining. It is hard to make long-term decisions when we only see the present clearly. Thankfully, we have an eternal Father who sees the end from the beginning. Like a toddler who can’t to see above the crowd, we must trust the view of our very tall and very wise Father.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not rely on your own understanding; Think about Him in all your ways, And He will guide you on the right paths. Don’t consider yourself to be wise; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.Proverbs 3:5-7 HCSB

 


About Carol Dunfee

Carol is a wife, mom, piano teacher, and blogger for Alaska Christian Women's Ministry. Having grown up in church, life made her dissatisfied with empty religious traditions and trite answers. She discovered that Jesus alone is the way to real life and true contentment. Ever stumbling and learning herself, she invites her readers to experience God's love and forgiveness like never before. Read more at CarolDunfee.com.

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