Decisions unravel the course of life. I’ve looked back to see how the good decisions I made impacted my life in a positive way the same way my bad decisions have lead me astray. As I look back on my worst decisions, I see that I’m the common denominator in
certain areas of life and that I ignored any advice I was given regarding it. I want to know how to avoid mistakes in the future, and changing myself is really the only way to do that.
I appreciate the life coaching Andy Stanley provides and over the time I’ve listened to him, I’ve gathered a number of questions he presents for us to ask ourselves in order to help make good decisions clearer to see and easier to make. Here are some things to think about while making any decision.
Am I being honest with myself, REALLY?
This is hard to discern because I know I look for every possible excuse and loophole to evade being honest with myself. I actually dated a guy who told me he didn’t want a relationship believing he’d change his mind. The lesson I learned was the last time I saw him and he told me that all the while I’d been lying to myself. It stings to say he was right because I believed in my heart that it would turn out the way I wanted. In the end, I got hurt. I only wish he’d not have dated me in the first place if he didn’t want a relationship. Lesson number two, not all people behave honorably.
What story do I want to tell?
When you look back on your life, what do you want to be able to say about it. Do you want it to be a series of mistakes and bad decisions or stories of learning, redemption, helping others and being a positive influence. I’ve looked back on college and wished I hadn’t chosen the major I did. I Look back at one group of friends I had in college that was amazing. Then, I look at another group of friends I had later in life. They were very nice people, but a bad influence. I made many bad decisions as a result of their influence on my life. Since that time, I’ve seen the downward spiral of choices that’s really made me take a look at where my mind and heart is in this stage of my life. I know the story I don’t want to tell and the one that I do and am on a mission to change my heart so the good decisions are clearer to see and easier to make.
Is there a tension that needs attention?
Is there that something that just doesn’t quite feel right? I’m referring to the thoughts that go like this, “I know he’s ____, but I love him.” “I know they can’t prove where their funding came from, but if I land this deal it could mean my career.” “I know she’s _____, but she’s the best looking woman I’ve ever dated.” “I know_____, but_____.” These excuse-driven statements reveal your emotional tension. When I’m lying to myself and don’t want to address the tension, I do everything possible to ignore it, deny it, or do anything else other than address the tension.
What would be most honoring to God?
I know in my heart what is most honoring to God, but most of the time my selfish desire and straight-up disobedience leading me in the wrong path. That’s a bad decision that will likely lead to another and another because with each bad decision, I’m training my brain to make bad decisions. If I take a moment to consider what would honor God, the decision will be put into the correct perspective like putting a camera into focus.
In light of my past experience, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?
This is incredible because it requires you to consider all your life stages, past, present and future. If you’re considering taking that job, going inside the apartment, spending that money, think about it within these guidelines of your past present and future.
Am I trading what I truly want most for what I can have now?
This is important for me to think of while dating. I’ve always traded what I really wanted, marriage and a family, for what I could have now, a boyfriend. I never allowed myself to have the faith and trust in God to have person out there for me, and that He is using this stage of my single life for good. Now that I can see it, I’m making the effort to grow that trust.
I also found this to be true while job hunting during the 2009 economic crisis. I accepted any job I could have right then, even if it wasn’t what I wanted because it paid the bills right at the moment. I ignored tensions that needed attention to satisfy a worry
Am I honoring God with my body?
This question is important for people with any abusive habit from excessive drinking and sexual addiction to pornography to consider. Your mind is part of your body, so anything that poisons your mind isn’t honoring to God. Purify your entire body and use your gift of body to honor God as well as you can. Keep in mind God’s grace covers our sin and imperfection.
Have I sought wise counsel in my decisions?
You can see other people’s issues and tell them what they need to do, but can’t with yourself. If you can see other’s from the outside, isn’t it logical that someone else can see what you need to do clearer than you can? I know it’s true for me and I’ve turned away from wise counsel to make decisions on my own. My private decisions became my public humiliation. Now that I see many mistakes, I have sought wise counsel in life with a life coach. She helps clarify what I see.
Easy decisions don’t come within a single day, but with prayer and practice, I find them easier to make. I pray that good decisions will come as intuitively to me as I know not to go rob a bank or commit any other crime. Now I’m able to stop, reflect and seek counsel before going head-first into compromising my desires to please another person, act selfishly or lustfully even if it doesn’t make sense for me.
Training new decision pathways takes time to develop the appropriate amount of strength so the good decisions become natural. All along the way, ask yourself these questions to help you stay on track.