How To Make Great Decisions (1)
"If you don't take your stand in faith, you won't have a leg to stand on." Isaiah 7:9 TM
The Bible says: "If the trumpet does not make a clear call, who will get ready for battle?" (1 Co 14:8 NIV). Procrastination will cause you to miss some of your greatest opportunities. But what if all your life you've been cautioned about making the wrong decisions concerning relationships, finances, education, career, or life in general? Now you're like the mule standing between two bales of hay; unable to decide which one to eat and afraid of making the wrong choice, you stand there starving to death. You must act!
The need to do things perfectly and the desire to control every possible outcome will keep you stuck. Anytime you're immobilized by the prospect of making a mistake you've forgotten this principle: failing doesn't make you a failure, quitting does! Not learning does! Failing to see beyond it does! Over the next few days we'll consider some ideas for making great decisions. The first is: You can't please everybody, so stop trying! The Psalmist said: "Fear of man is a dangerous trap, but to trust in God means safety" (Pr 29:25 TLB). Once you know what brings you fulfillment, as long as it's God's will, chart your course accordingly and refuse to let the opinions of others intimidate you or color your view. And remember, over time goals can change; what's needed today may not be needed a year from now. So pray, reassess your plans regularly, and be willing to change direction when needed.
How To Make Great Decisions (2)
"All that happens... is working for our good." Romans 8:28 TLB
Usually our biggest mistake - is being afraid of making a mistake! In The Psychology of Achievement, Brian Tracy tells of four multimillionaires who made their fortunes by age 35. All four tried an average of 17 different things before they found what made them successful. Imagine failing 16 times before you discover what works! Could you handle that? We're too quick to judge things as failures when they're just learning experiences. Edison said: "Many of life's failures were just people who didn't know how close they were to success when they gave up." Only by allowing yourself to fail, do you give yourself permission to succeed. So, what should you do?
(1) Consider all your options! Then discuss them with the right people. Find those knowledgeable in your field who are willing to support you. And never hesitate to discuss your plans because you're afraid they might not work. Swallow your pride! If you grew up in a culture where failure always brought condemnation, you must change your thinking before you can move forward.
(2) Lighten up! Nowadays everything's a big deal! Chill out and stop taking yourself so seriously! JI Packer says: "A moment of conscious triumph makes one feel that after this, nothing really matters; a moment of seeming disaster makes one feel like this is the end of everything. But neither feeling is realistic; because neither event is really what it's 'felt' to be." Don't get bent out of shape; by God's grace you'll handle it. Remember: "All that happens... is working for our good."
How To Make Great Decisions (3)
"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 NIV"
Here are a few more thoughts on decision-making: (1) Trust the "still, small voice." But even when you've prayed, done your homework and made your best call, if your spiritual gut says "no", pay attention. The Bible says: "We should make plans, counting on God to direct us" (Pr 16:9 TLB). Henry Ward Beecher wrote: "Wisdom means finding the way in which God is going, and going that way too." During the American Civil War somebody asked Abraham Lincoln if he was sure that God was on his side. "I haven't thought much about it" he replied, "I just want to know I'm on God's side!" Isaiah says: "He that believeth shall not make haste" (Is 28:16). God sees your whole life, not just your tomorrow. So listen for His voice, adopt His pace and don't rush things. Remember, He's directing your steps - and your stops! (See Ps 37:23).
(2) Let it go! Once you've made your final decision, fear and faith will both sail into your harbor. Allow only faith to drop anchor! Paul said: "Forgetting what is behind... I press on" (Phil 3:13-14 NIV). Once the die is cast, let it go! It's normal to speculate about how you'd like things to turn out, but you can't control the future, and unfulfilled expectations only create misery. Plus, when you're overly focused on how things should be, you miss out on how they are - which is usually much better than you imagined!
How To Make Great Decisions (4)
"Stop allowing yourselves to be... unsettled." John 14:27 AMP
Here are some final thoughts on decision-making:
(1) Learn from every decision. When things don't seem to work out, we've a tendency to play the blame-game. That's not good! One woman said: "I hated my broker when my stocks plummeted. Finally, after admitting that nobody twisted my arm to buy, I realized that: (a) I should have done more personal research; (b) I needed to deal with my insecurities; money is a big trigger for me; (c) it wasn't the end of the world; stocks go back up as mine did later. So, it wasn't such a bad decision after all." Jesus said: "Stop allowing yourselves to be ... unsettled." By accepting personal responsibility for your life and learning from each decision, you gain wisdom.
(2) Never protect what you need to correct. Don't become so invested in a decision that you stick with it regardless. Writer, Stewart Emery describes being in the cockpit of a plane and noticing a particular console whose function was to keep the plane on course and on time. Anytime the plane veered off course the system corrected it and they arrived on time - despite having been off track 90% of the time. Emery says: "The path from here to where we want to be, starts with an error which we correct, which becomes the next error which we correct, etc. The only time we are truly on course is the point in the zigzag when we actually cross the path." So stay flexible and learn to make course corrections - the quality of your life depends on it!
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