Decisions. It is very likely that you currently have important decisions that you need to make. Vocational decisions. Relational decisions. Educational decisions. Financial decisions. Spiritual decisions. Ethical decisions.
The question I'd like to answer in today's post is, "How can I ensure that I make the right decisions?
Though I wish the answer to this question was original to me, the credit must go to Andy Stanley, a pastor and leader that has had a huge impact on my life. In his Leadership Podcast from November of 2014, he provides insight on good decision making that I'd like to share with you.
He says that having a process by which you can make good decisions is so important because, "Our greatest regrets are, often times, connected to bad decisions."
And I couldn't agree more with that statement! My greatest financial regrets are due to bad financial decisions! My greatest relational regrets are due to bad relational decisions! My greatest health regrets are due to bad health decisions!
With all that in mind, the question that he states will revolutionize how you make decisions is this:
"What is the wise thing for me to do?"
And if that seems too simple for you he gives the following three questions to further flesh out the one above.
- In light of my past experiences, what is the wise thing for me to do?
- In light of my current circumstances, what is the wise thing for me to do?
- In light of my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do?
To help you better understand how you can apply these questions to your decision making, I want to share with you how I used them to help me make a tough decision that I was recently faced with.
I recently decided to withdraw this semester from my classes in Seminary. Now, how did I determine that this was the wise thing for me to do? Here's how the three questions helped me to come to that conclusion:
- In light of my past experiences, the wise thing for me to do is to withdraw because I know during the weeks of midterms and finals I am going to have very little energy to put towards anything other than school, and right now I need to be able to put a significant amount of energy towards leading the church. Also, in light of my past experiences, I know that if I have not adequately prepared for my midterms and finals, I will be tempted to cheat. If I know I won't be able to put enough time and energy into my studies, I don't want to put myself in a position where I am tempted to compromise my values for the sake of passing classes.
- In light of my current circumstances, the wise thing for me to do is withdraw because there is just way too much going on that is a higher priority to me than school. First of all, we are moving from one home to another! I need to be able to invest my energy and time to make sure this is successful. Second of all, and most importantly, right now, the church needs my undivided attention. There has been an unusually high number of people facing difficult circumstances that I must be emotionally available for. We also have recently brought on 7 volunteer staff members that I must lead well. Finally, the truth is, I can't afford to be in school right now! My current circumstances do not allow for my disposable income to go towards school.
- In light of my future hopes and dreams, the wise thing for me to do is withdraw because I am more committed to becoming an effective pastor now than I am to becoming a seminary graduate later. Now, I understand that becoming a seminary graduate can help me become a better pastor, but it is not the only thing I can do to become a better pastor. Also, my future hopes and dreams include being a healthy and whole person and I truly believe withdrawing from school, for this semester, is a step in that direction.
I hope my example of how I applied Andy's questions to my decision making process can help you with a decision you currently need to make, but, after running your decision through the questions above you may find yourself saying...
WHAT IF I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO?
If you find yourself stuck, Andy has this to say:
Wise people know when they don't know, and they are not afraid to go to those who do know.
In other words, if you desire to do the wise thing and Andy's questions don't help to bring you clarity, go to someone you trust and ask them, "In light of my past experiences, current circumstances, and future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do?"