What am I supposed to do? We’ve all asked ourselves that question. Do I take the job? Should I move to that new city? Is pursuing that relationship really a good idea?
All of us face big life-altering decisions a few times throughout our time on earth. When you are stuck at a metaphorical fork in the road, what are you supposed to do? The pressure is daunting.
What if I make the wrong decision?
What if there is something better down the road?
What if this is a horrible mistake?
When faced with a big decision, the questions and doubt swirl constantly in our mind. The questions continually increase while the answers decrease. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would come along and just give us the correct answer? Well, I’m sorry. I’m not that person.
My role is to bring clarity in the midst of your uncertainty. The following four steps are steps I have observed wise people use throughout the years to make big decisions. So if you want to make a wise decision, then do what wise people do.
Step 1: Pray.
James, the brother of Jesus, said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5 NIV) Prayer is our great defense against uncertainty. It forces us to plead for wisdom that far exceeds our own knowledge.
Pray for wisdom.
Ask for clarity.
Give your worries over to the Lord.
All of these happen when we pray before making a big decision. Prayer is our declaration of dependence upon God. When facing a big decision the first step you need to do is declare your dependence on God for wisdom and direction.
Step 2: Step back.
You can’t see the forest because you’re too busy looking at a tree. That’s the challenge all of us face during big decisions. Our emotions are running high. Doubts are swirling around everywhere. All of this removes our ability to think clearly.
My pastor in my early 20s taught me an invaluable lesson. He said,
“Never make a big decision when you are emotional.”
Emotions rob us of clarity, while patience gives the greatest insight. Whatever decision you are facing, take a moment and step back from it before you do anything.
Step 3: Seek Godly advice.
My brother-in-law years ago noticed a child struggling to swim at hotel pool. The struggle got worse. The kid needed help. He was drowning. Immediately, my brother-in-law jumped into action. Like a hero he saved that kid from drowning that day.
Sometimes big decisions make us feel like we are drowning. All we need at the time is someone to jump in and save us. If you were drowning in a sea of huge decisions, who would you turn to for clarity? Go and seek out that person.
Don’t make big decisions alone.
Step 4: Pursue peace.
In an ocean of possible decisions, which boat do you pick? Pick the one that gives you the most peace. It’s the vessel that will take you the farthest.
I give this advice assuming you have already taken the first three steps. This is not a “follow your heart” kind of advice. “Just follow your heart” is terrible advice if you haven’t done the first three steps. Your heart will steer you quickly into a storm if you don’t pray, step back, and seek godly advice.
Peace comes to the patient and the wise. So when faced with two seemingly equal choices, pursue the decision which gives you the greatest sense of peace. God does not give us fear. He is a God of peace. Thus peace is the great clarifier in the midst of uncertainty.
When faced with life’s big decisions, we don’t always have to think of it in terms of “right” or “wrong”. Rather let us think in terms of “clarity” and “peace.”