Well, it’s decision time. You’ve miraculously acquired a high school diploma, to the surprise of your parents. You’ve got a twenty-year old car that, somehow, still runs. You’ve accumulated a few savings bonds from Grandpa, and you’re ready to head to college. But which one?
Then once you get there, all these beautiful girls want you to date them: which one do you pick? (Or, more realistically, how do you get them to notice you?)
When two companies respond to your resume, both in great locations, where should you go?
Oh yes, and which investments should you start with? What kind of house should you buy? What kind of church should you attend? What commitments should you make? How many kids should you have? Should you develop a second career?
Just when your life starts to settle down, your kids have to make all these choices too, and (if they’re smart), they’re asking for your advice.
Every decision we make fits into one of the following categories:
1. A right versus a wrong decision. These are by far the easiest to make. If you’re considering doing something unethical, unbiblical, or immoral, then all you really need to do is research and soul-search. If you choose the dark side, prepare for the consequences. If you do the right thing, you’ll feel great and life will reward you in the long run.
2. A best versus a good decision. It gets a little tricky here. Two colleges may look good – which one is best? Two cars may catch your attention on the car lot – which one should you drive away with? You could go to the movies, or you could invest that same money for the future. You could eat fast food, or “enjoy” that healthy salad. Choices in this category typically aren’t “sin versus righteousness” decisions (unless they are taken to extremes), so you could go either way. Training yourself to constantly ask the question: “Is this the best choice?” is a helpful (and often annoying) habit.
3. A great versus
a great decision. The toughest choices of
all are the ones where the pros and cons are roughly equal, both are morally
excellent options, and you could see yourself enjoying either path. Career and retirement choices often fall into
I had to make a significant career decision recently, and both options in front of me were wonderful. Here are a few of the principles I used to make my choice:
I listed out the risks and rewards of both
I prayed for God’s peace and wisdom.
I sought counsel from about five trusted friends and family.
I forced myself to wait a few weeks before making a commitment.
And then, I went with my gut.
I may be straying a bit theologically here, but I’m
convinced that God leaves some of life’s choices up to us. Clearly, he has a “will” that we should
follow. But if we’re obeying God in
every way we know how, maybe either way we turn could be a good choice. Is it possible that two potential outcomes
could be part of God’s will? You could
probably build a case either way, so I’ll leave it to you to think on. (See if you can stump your pastor with that
There’s one passage in the Bible that I’ve found myself
turning to time and again, and I offer it here for your encouragement. Maybe
the next time you’re faced with a big decision it can be a starting place for
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)