how to make decisions

IMG_2579Decisions. I know those of us without a Y chromosome often get chided for having notoriously bad decision-making skills, and I would love to be the antithesis to that stereotype… but I’m not. I’m right there with all of you, being indecisive and broken and fearful. Recently, in fact. I feel that, in some way, I have just emerged from a battlefield (please excuse the dramatic flair).

The worst part is the fear.

The fear of messing up. The fear of missing out. The fear of devolving.

Fear that I will be denied what I hope for. Fear that my choices will lead me into a pit of regret.

Fear that it’s up to me to control the outcome, to control who I become, and then fear that I cannot control it at all. That I’m utterly helpless to handle the reigns, even though I keep snatching them back.

I have had small indecisive moments, but they have all been within tidy boundaries. Where to go to high school? (But, I know that I will be going to high school). Where to go to college? (But, it was assumed that I would be going to college). Etc, etc. Decisions like that are made within neat parameters; given guidelines. I have a framework to operate in. The basic decision was already made, or assumed. I got to fill in the lines with the colors I wanted.

But this… this decision was completely without lines to color within. So I wasn’t just picking the colors, but choosing what the very picture itself would turn out to be.

And in that, I imagined, that I was choosing who I myself would turn out to be.

Granted, our decisions do shape us. Our decisions do have an impact. But can our decisions ruin us, without warning?

I was terrified of making a decision that would turn me into something I dread. That I would move forward into a place that would suck my soul dry, and leave me hollow – a mere shell of the person I dream of being.

And in that, I realized this also: I was battling a fear of fear: that I would decide and move and choose out of a place of fear, rather than a place of trust.

If the greatest adventures are often passed by because of fear, I dreaded missing any of it due to some petty concerns or insecurities.

I also dreaded choosing something because of a notion that Jesus would stop using me or growing me.

Granted, if I were to choose to do something that totally contradicted His character, it would create some disruption in my soul. But even then, would he give up on me? No.

So why, while I attempted to choose between two things that were morally neutral, that I felt were in equal standing as far as what I “should” do, did I feel so scared that I would be abandoned in a desert at the end of the day?

Probably due to a deep need to control. Probably my entitled nature, having been denied some of it’s proud expectations, nursing a grudge towards a God I imagined had betrayed me by saying “no”. Probably my past hurts piping up, saying, “remember us? Remember the pain of disappointments?”

If only I could be certain that the decision was made out of trust, even with all the uncertainties of the future. Pain is guaranteed in life, but it is more welcome when I can believe that it’s not an accident, or by fault of my own doing.

But every decision has fear laced into it, doesn’t it? Because of the irritating limitations that being finite creatures guarantees us, the future is unknown. No matter how wise and careful we can attempt to be, it’s unknown and uncertain. We cannot barricade ourselves against surprises.

Sometimes, the decision does not need to be free from fear, because it won’t ever be.

Sometimes, we have to simply decide, and be willing to let Jesus fill in all the unknown, uncertain parts.

I want to apply this, next time my soul quakes in the face of a decision. Next time, I want to be wise (of course) and do my research, do my soul-searching, go to those wiser than I, etc. But next time, I want to be quicker to realize and accept and be content with not knowing everything, with not controlling everything. Quicker to accept the question marks. Because I spent far too long this time around trying to answer every single one.

There are chasms that Google-searches and talks with friends & mentors and even attempts at biblical understanding will not fill, because Jesus Himself intends to fill it. 

He is not interested in giving us all the materials to make a perfect decision. He wants our hearts, and our trust, and sometimes that means being confident of who He is, even in the face of a dense fog, and stepping forward anyways. 

Isn’t that all of life? Stepping into fog, trusting that whatever type of ground greets us, Christ is there?

Trusting that He will continue to be who He has always been.

Trusting that He desires good for us, even when “good” looks really different than my definition, a definition imagined from a place of extremely limited sight.

we take it, we’ll make it
one day at a time.
it will never help us
to mourn what’s behind,
or refuse to accept
what You have deemed mine,
or entertain daydreams of
that after which my heart pines.

instead, every moment,
every thought, every line,
we’ll hurl boldly into
futures to which we are blind,
because You have loved us;
You are good, You are kind.
And You make it possible
for me, cleansed of my crime,
to sip of the present, in which You
come meet me, and shine

and now there’s hope
and now I can breathe

thank you, to my friends who keep reminding me that I am loved and that my sanctification is no more subject to my abilities than is my justification. thank you, for being on my team and refusing to accept lies on my behalf, when i seem to succumb to them so easily

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