Every choice is both constraining and enabling. By choosing one thing you’re also excluding all of the other things you could have chosen. Today, I’m sitting in a coffee shop writing. I chose to spend four dollars on a drink and now that money can go toward nothing else. I chose to spend a few of my already limited hours writing, editing and planning blog posts for the next two weeks. Because I made that decision, that time cannot be used for anything else. Choosing to write opened me up to creativity and encouraging others, but restricted me from some of the other things I enjoy.
We each make hundreds of decisions every day, most of which we do with little or no thought. I am what you might call a reluctant decision-maker. My friends and I run into this problem every time we want to go out to eat together. I always rely on the decisions of others and I don’t want to decide for myself. Unless I know for certain, I don’t want to offer my opinion, even if it’s a simple decision.
Recently I made a decision that will alter my life in a major way. I’ve known it was coming for a while and I’ve finally decided to embrace it and the next adventure that God has been calling me to. After I made the decision, I immediately began regretting my choice. I hadn’t acted on it and I hadn’t made it official so I was able to change my mind whenever I wanted. I found myself wondering if I was “missing God.”
Paul addresses this problem in Romans 12:1-2 and I often wonder if he ever struggled with decision making.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The will of God isn’t some hidden, secret thing. He’s already shared with us what His will is in His Word. Jesus spoke of God’s will over and over again when He was here on earth: to love and not hate, to choose joy over anger, to not fear but to trust Him, to share His love with others and to make Him known. We’re not told what car to drive, what career to have, the name of the person we should marry, or what to eat for lunch, because we’re told more than that. Over and over again in the very Word of God, we’re told how to live.
I’ve learned in my life that the “why” and the “how” matters a lot more than the “what.” So why do we reverse this in our spiritual life? We know the “why.” It’s Jesus. Everything is made by Him and is for Him, including us. Jesus loved us so much that He died in our place, that’s our “why.”
We get the “how” by searching out His Word, by consuming, studying, and meditating on it and choosing to let it change us from the inside out.
I have a sneaking suspicion that when we focus the “why,” the “how” and “what” will matter less so I am making a conscious decision to seek the Lord and be intentional about consuming His Word. I am laying down myself and my selfish desires and asking Him to change my heart so it falls in line with His will. This is a radical shift in my decision-making process. I’m beginning to see that the only way that we can “miss God” is by neglecting His Word. I’m learning that not neglecting His word and trusting His will, leads to fewer and fewer cases of decision-makers regret.
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