How Do I Decide?

 

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My days are filled with a myriad of decisions and so are yours, but before you think I am talking about some high intensity professional position I want you to think for a moment. Unless you are staying in bed all day, your decisions begin immediately about what to wear, whether you skip or eat breakfast, and on it goes.

 

One of the decisions that can plague us relates to when we surrender and let go of something and when we hang on for dear life. Our Christian platitudes often make the choice more difficult. You know the phrases like “let go and let God” or “He’s called you to serve” or  “just hang on until…” or “just put it in the Lord’s hands.” None of those are bad things, but discernment and wisdom about when we release something and when we stand firm on something are not always easy to come by.

 

Somehow we feel locked in when we make a choice.

 

Jennifer Dukes Lee offers some straightforward points on that in her new book, It’s All Under Control:

 

 “You don’t have to pick one road and walk that path for the rest of your life. Gospel living is not an either/or question. It’s a both/and. It’s coming back to that fork in the road every day — with every decision, every obligation, and every relationship — and asking God to help you choose.”

 

 Recently I was in a decision mode about participating in a women’s Bible study that agenda-calendar-checklist-3243started this fall. I had participated in late winter and spring and enjoyed the study and the fellowship, but this time I kept hesitating and I wasn’t sure why. I asked the Lord and didn’t hear a definitive word from Him. I decided to sign up and purchased the book since I had no clear nudge from the Lord. What continued to puzzle me as I paid for the book was a hesitancy that wasn’t a “no” and yet wasn’t a nod to go ahead.

 

A day or so later when I picked up the book to begin going over the initial pages I was struck by how it felt heavy to me. The book wasn’t thicker or bigger than the previous study, but it felt “too much.” I put the book down and went on to other things until a few days later when I sat down and experienced the same thing. It felt forced somehow.

 

For me, decisions are hardest when there doesn’t seem to be a clear leading. Sometimes I have these unsettled times where I can’t point to a reason not to do something. But I still feel stuck about going forward and have no evidence about why I shouldn’t. That’s especially true when I am concerned someone I care about will be disappointed in the choice I make.

 

Regarding the Bible study I forgot one principle I have tended to live by: If I don’t have a definitive sense to go ahead, I don’t (even if I miss out on something). As I continued to think and pray about it, that forgotten principle came to mind and I decided even though I signed up and bought the book I was not going to participate…even though I could not point to why.

 

I emailed the leader and shared with her my decision as well as the ambivalence about the decision without a definite reason. She was a delight!  She accepted my choice (and me) and added that any day I wanted to pop in and felt it was a good choice that she would be glad to have me.

 

The day of the first meeting of the Bible study came and I felt a release or peace, an autumn-backlit-branch-226721assurance I had made the right decision not to participate. Each week that peace has continued and the Lord has also set an agenda with Him or someone else that I could not have done if I had gone forward with the study.

 

Surrendering meant taking a risk that I might be wrong, but it also meant discovering what adventure the Lord had waiting that was on his agenda for me (even if it wasn’t on my own). It meant really walking in trust. It also meant letting go of control.

 

Each day that I grow in these areas I discover that God’s agenda for me is not only better for me in every way, but the little surprises along the way add joy to my relationship with Him.

 

In It’s All Under Control, Jennifer reduces it down to the lowest common denominator:

 

“Don’t let go when it gets difficult. Let go only when it’s time. Until then, hang on.”

 

What truth! Most of us would prefer to let go when it is difficult.

 

One thing I am certain of at this point in my life: The difficult things and the ones I didn’t want or ask for, are the ones where I grew up, grew closer to the Lord, and gained greater trust.

 

We don’t need to toss a coin.

 

We just need to follow Him.

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25 thoughts on “How Do I Decide?

  1. Pam this is such a help to me right now.
    Thank you for sharing the behind-the-scenes of your experience.
    I feel like church should be a lot more like this blog post: open and practical.
    Such wisdom and I feel like I am not going crazy–this is a real thing!

    1. Thanks so much for these kind comments. I tend to believe and feel that if we know anyone or anything well, we should be able to speak about it or him/her clearly and basically. (Guess that is the part of me that spent 15 years teaching in the classroom.) As we believers, we can get caught in the weeds of cliches and jargon that may not reflect what the Lord is really saying to us. After all, in the end, He is the One I need to hear and answer to. Hugs!💝

  2. Pam – I love your words of wisdom. I hate to admit it if I had bought the book I probably would have reluctantly gone ahead. It would not have been my “Best Yes.” I am going to remember this post. Thank you for sharing it with Grace & Truth Christian link-up. I have got to finish Jennifer’s book soon.

    1. I hear you! $10 doesn’t come around as easily as when I was working. BUT I am increasing my desire to be obedient even when I don’t know why. After all, my parents expected obedience from me and I had no understanding about why many times and it was true of me as a parent as well.😊

  3. Hi Pam! What a great photo for your post graphic ! I love it. I also loved the perspective you shared about making decisions and choices. One of my favorite pastors used to say, “If you don’t know, don’t go!” kind of sounds like one of the thoughts you try to live by yourself. 🙂 Jennifers’s book sounds awesome, I hope to read it one day soon. But I have a few other things on my plate I need to finish first. We are neighbors at several linkups today as well.

    1. Hi Debbie! Thanks for that. It can be so easy to be caught up in trying to not turn aside good things from our calendars and plates, but the Lord knows they are not always the BEST things for us at that point even though we may not know why. In my case that I shared, I started to have some opportunities to speak as a result of Bring Me A Vision and also minister to some who have read the book and gotten in touch with their own roundedness. I needed to have more time to be with the Lord to be prepared and quiet to hear his voice to be available to Him for those things at this time.

      Jennifer’s book is good. Every book I have reviewed recently has not only been a great read, but given me lots of opportunities after the review to incorporate themes and quotes from the book in things I write giving the book another boost. That happened with yours as well and tomorrow I will post a review of a Tyndale Blogger Grid book (Stumbling Toward Wholeness) that will fall into that category.

      Hope you are being blessed richly as you walk in the calling the Lord has placed on your life, my friend.❤️

  4. Pam, hi! I am definitely resonating with your wise words today. I’ve learned to notice that hesitation in my spirit, to pay attention when I’m not getting the go ahead from the Lord. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out why He’s saying ‘not now’ or ‘not yet’ or ‘not this’ but I’m learning I don’t need to know every detail.

    Often later on, it becomes clear why that door didn’t open wide.

    Thanks for taking us there today, friend …

    1. Hi, Linda! It seems to take a long time for us to learn that when we don’t have the “why” of the timing or purpose, but the peace this time and the ups and downs of my schedule since I obeyed has confirmed it multiple times.

      As Christian women, I think we can often be the worst at being okay with following these nudges.

      Have a blessed day! Our son and his wife are heading in your general direction on a week long trip to Maine as an early 30th wedding anniversary (Dec.10). Hoping they have good weather. Our son has seen this area from Boston north to Acadia on the coast, but our daughter-in-law never has.🍁

  5. This is good life advice, Pam: “If I don’t have a definitive sense to go ahead, I don’t (even if I miss out on something).” I think our fear of missing out often propels us to say yes when we should often say no.

    1. I couldn’t agree more about what propels us to say “yes”! Have a blessed day, my friend! We added your 1 minute video review to the Resources page of my website about the book. It was so good!!!!❤️

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