Sometimes making a choice is easy, huh?
Chocolate peanut butter ice cream or vanilla? Easy peasy. Who in their right mind snubs anything with chocolate?
In-N-Out Burger or Mickie-D? Not even a legit question.
But then life gets grueling, and the choices aren’t nearly as easy.
Who do I lay off in my company now that things are lean?
Am I going to boldly choose to take a new risk or play it safe?
Do I forgive my husband and try to make our marriage work or throw in the towel?
Many times I’ve thought, Maybe if I just ignore what’s going on it will go away or magically get better on its own.
Whether you like it or not, tough decisions are unavoidable. Sooner or later you’re going to either be forced to make a choice, or one will be made for you.
About now you’re saying to yourself, Thanks for that terribly encouraging reminder! So, what do I do when I feel like I’m being squeezed in a vice?
Here are four things to consider:
1. What would your mother say? (Keep reading; let me explain before you scream).
Most of us instinctively know when mom’s advice is amazing and when it’s not. Sometimes we hear her voice in our head, and we know in our knower that she knows what’s best.
Other times, usually late at night when she calls to remind us of Uncle Bob’s birthday, the second she opens her mouth we know we’re about to get some horrible advice. My point? Stop and ask yourself, What would mom suggest? Trust me, one way or the other, it’ll bring some clarity.
2. What’s the worst and best thing that might happen given the choice before you?
Will someone die. Will you get fired? Will your mother (or Uncle Bob) write you out of the will? Is the risk worth the potential benefit? Will anybody care? Will I care in a year or five years? Could this decision result in an incredible success? Might the result of my choice positively change my life or the lives of others?
Considering the worst-case and best-case scenarios often brings clarity too. By no means am I suggesting you live in fear or start taking unwise risks. However, sometimes we overthink and over-analyze, and we complicate a decision that might not be that complicated.
3. What do those who are the closest to you think?
No, we shouldn’t live trying to make or keep everybody happy. That’s dumb. But the wise advice of trusted and loyal friends or your partners in business or ministry should never be ignored.
We need the counsel of others. We need the perspective and input of those around us. We all need to listen more and probably talk less. A lot less.
4. What would Jesus do (WWJD)?
Yeah, I know, cliché. Yeah, I know, Jesus didn’t run a company or pastor a church in the 21st But He did teach some incredible principles about life that probably apply to your situation.
What is the choice that is wise, relational, good, right, and godly? What decision will take and keep you on the narrow path (you know, the one that leads to life)? What sacrificial choice might cost you everything, but in the end, is the best path to life?
About now, someone far more spiritual than I am is frustrated. WHAT ABOUT PRAYER? You didn’t mention prayer!
Of course, pray. But here’s how God usually answers you: through your mom (and others in authority), your inner voice, your friends, and through the Word and Holy Spirit of Jesus.
Whatever is happening and whatever hard choice you’re facing right now, choose well. Don’t avoid the tough calls just because you think it’s easier. Avoidance and denial rarely (ever) end well.
So choose wisely.