Making a Big Decision
By Rev. Gary Lewis
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Whenever I look back on big decisions I have needed to make, what I remember the most is the pit in my stomach that formed as I worked through it. I remember the crushing feeling of uncertainty and the fear caused by the great unknowns. Some decisions really do feel like life or death.
One of the downsides about making a big decision is how the desire to avoid the topic will overtake me. Often times, procrastination only makes things worse. What helps me is to develop a process – a simple framework to follow. Do you need to make a big decision? Consider these steps:
No. 1: PRAY. When a decision looms, I always begin with prayer. Prayer reminds me I am never alone. At this initial stage, my prayer is for a Damascus road experience with the risen Lord telling me exactly what to do. That has never happened, but it does my heart good to ask.
No. 2: MAKE A PHYSICAL LIST OF THE PROS AND CONS. Writing things down on paper creates space for God to talk to me. The list allows me to see the benefits or the negatives written on a page.
No. 3: PRAY. I have listed this here, again, because now that I have completed step two, I can now pray more clearly. Prayer is one of those things that needs to happen every step along the way. I also have to be specific about prayer – that God’s will and not my will be done. Repeating prayer at step 3 helps me to avoid trying to convince God of what I want.
No. 4: SEARCH GOD’S WORD. By spending time in the Bible, I am giving God the opportunity to talk to me through the pages of Scripture. It invites the Holy Spirit to show me the Bible in a new and exciting light.
No. 5: CONSULT MENTORS IN MY LIFE. There are people in my life who I believe are connected to God. I just know it by the way they live their lives and the choices they make. I always ask their thoughts about a decision I need to make. While most of these people don’t know I consider them mentors; rather, they are just good friends who love to help. Some of these people are my wife, Jenny, my co-workers, colleagues in the ministry field, and other leaders I respect.
No. 6: LISTEN. The final step is an important one, not just, because I talk too much, but because if I truly want God’s will to be done in my life, I have to be intentional about listening. Not only do I need to listen to God, but I also need to listen to what God is saying to Jenny. As a couple, we are going through this together.
While I love this process, at the end of it all I still have to make the decision. This is always the hard part; having faith that I am in alignment with God’s will and that I am on the right path. Big decisions take big courage.