There’s this local burrito place that my town is kind of famous for. The facts that the burritos are delicious and enormous (I will split one with you!) and that all of the employees have more piercings than original facial features, make it difficult to forget. However, when I get the craving for a burrito, an inward battle begins…and it has nothing to do with calories! Do I really want to go through that line and be pressured into making dozens of high-speed decisions?
Flour, corn or spinach tortilla? Chicken, beef or vegetarian? Black beans or refried beans? Salsa? What kind of salsa?
My eyes meet those of the bearded burrito-boy in a moment of panic. “Uh…um…flour. No — spinach!”
Eventually I make it to the cash register and finally to my table. The burrito is mine at last, but I have no clue what’s on it. All I know is that I’m out of breath and dizzy.
If you can’t tell by now, I have a bit of a decision-making problem. Small decisions can stress me when I feel pressured and big decisions nearly did me in last year. All at once I had every major part of my life pending on a decision, and the only one who could make those decisions was me. I started out the only way I knew how. I prayed. I read everything I could on God’s will, decision-making and the issues I was having to address. I prayed. I asked advice from mentors and friends. Did I mention that I prayed?
Day after day found me sitting on my bed in tearful prayer, begging God to send me a sign. I was confused as to why God wasn’t revealing His will to me when I was so eager to know it. Can I tell you something, though? I wanted answers because I thought they would solve my problems. If I hadn’t been so stressed and worried about what might happen to me, I would never have come to Jesus with such fervency. Finally, when I was at the end of my cord, I had an epiphany.
Sometimes, God’s perfect and sovereign will for us is that we make a decision.
I wrote down the decisions I had to make and I kept that list until I had marked every single thing off. I made the decisions based on what I knew of the Lord, what advice I had received from trusted believers and what I felt in my heart to be right. The weight was lifted off my shoulders. I hardly cared how things turned out just so long as I had made a decision I felt good about!
I never saw a message written in the sky or heard the audible voice of the Lord, but God did place people and their words in my life to gently lead me. Two books I highly recommend are God’s Guidance by Elisabeth Elliot and Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung. Also, a talk by Ben Stuart called Decision-Making in the Will of God.
And if I could leave you with any advice from my own experience of making hard decisions, it would be this: Don’t flounder or panic. You are not the first girl to ever have to choose between college and living at home or that cute guy and singleness. Ask for advice only from people who live like you want to live. At some point, stop looking for advice and make your decision. You might even need to stop praying (since this can also mean obsessing) and move on to other things God wants to teach you. It is wonderful to be concerned with God’s will, but don’t become so paranoid that you become paralyzed. God doesn’t want us to be frozen in fear of anything, including failing Him. He doesn’t ask trick questions or send us into mazes. Out of loving-kindness, He has given us His word and it is “a light to our path”…that means that He actually wants us to find our way. Seek first His kingdom and righteousness — and all those other things? Well, He will take care of them.
(You can read more about how I changed the way I pray while I was learning to make decisions here.)