When I was a teenager living at home with my parents, I asked my dad, “When am I going to get to make my own decisions?” His answer was something like, “Your time is coming,” and “You have a whole life time of decision making in front of you, don’t be in such a hurry!”
We will make many decisions in our lifetime, many of them small: do I want to eat noodles or rice? take the escalator or use the stairs? Some decisions are large – – daunting even: Whether or not to accept a marriage proposal, whether or not to propose marriage; do we stay or do we go? Do we sign the contract or look elsewhere?
Decisions about direction for our lives can feel overwhelming. We don’t want to make a mistake; maybe we feel like we don’t have enough information. Wouldn’t it be great if a visitor from the future would come tell us what we should do? It’s tempting to think how this would be easier if someone else makes the decision for us. We somehow fool ourselves into thinking that by “not” deciding something we have solved our problem. As someone once wisely observed, “to not make a decision is itself a decision.”
This is yet another place where God comes to help us live well by offering his wisdom, a wisdom he has woven into the fabric of the universe. God is giving us direction to help us make good decisions! Here are a few of my favorite wisdom sayings concerning making decisions:
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9
“A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?” Proverbs 20:24
It’s not that we don’t plan things. The emphasis is on the access we have to personal direction from the one who knows what is good and knows how to reach it. Our personal humility is the key to this access:
“Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4
In an argument, we often want to have the last word. It requires humility to make preparations and then turn to God and say, “The place of honor is yours; I want you to have the last word about this decision.” It’s not a threat, it’s a comfort.
“To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.” Proverbs 16:1
Hear my prayer O Lord, you have complete freedom over my decision. I have sought you with my whole heart and now I trust you with the outcome.