Making Decisions: Will thinking harder give you more clarity?

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We make countless decisions each day; most of them made with little thought. Will I drink my coffee out of my tall, teal mug or my short, white mug?... Should I wash my hair today or did I do that yesterday?... Should I make fried eggs or scrambled eggs for breakfast?... (Three real decisions I made first thing this morning.) But other decisions are not made so easily. In fact, some decisions are so difficult to make that we become debilitated. We become frozen in our indecision.

We do a lot of thinking. We probably do a lot of talking. And maybe we even do a lot of praying. But what if after all of that, we still don't have clarity about the situation?

When it comes to making bigger decisions in our lives, my husband and I have a natural flow that we follow.

One of us says something like "I think we should do (insert decision here)."

The other person says something like "But what about..."

So we both pray about it and listen to what God is speaking to us through our daily bible reading.

And then we continue to think, pray and ponder...

But guess what? We usually don't ever get a 100% crystal clear answer to our question of what we should do... Until we take action.

Time and time again, we've learned that thinking about a situation or a decision more does not give us clarity. It's when we decide to take a step in that direction that God shows us where we are supposed to go.

This has been true for me for applying to new jobs, for applying for a promotion, for buying a house... and many more life decisions!

I trust that I've been hearing God's voice, I take a step in applying for that job or selling our house and I pray that God would either open the doors wide or slam them right in my face (those are legit things I've said to God, by the way...)

If you're stuck in the decision making cycle, go through these steps:

1. Read your bible and receive what God is saying to you.

If you're not reading your bible in a way that gives you a real life application, you need to read this post first. But if you're already doing that, then you should be getting at least an impression of what God is leading you towards. Asking specific questions will also help.

2. Talk to the people who will be impacted by the decision. Do they raise any big red flags?

If the decision you are trying to make impacts the lives of those around you then you definitely need to discuss it with them. But even if the decision will only affect your life (at least significantly), it is still a smart idea to consult wise, godly counsel.

With that being said, be selective about who you talk to. Choose people you trust, who desire the best for your life, who are bold enough to speak the truth, and who will give you their honest feedback.

3. Take your first step.

There are usually a series of small steps that make up one larger decision.

Are you considering moving to Jamaica? You wouldn't (I hope) just pack up and go. You would start by researching.

Are you considering a new job position? Start by applying and see if you get an interview.

Sometimes we get so focused on trying to figure out the end of the road that we forget that God leads us one step at a time. If, after hearing from God and consulting others, you think you're supposed to move forward then take your first step. It may go no where and you spent a lot of time thinking and worrying for nothing.

4. Reflect on how you feel.

It is important to pay attention to the emotions you feel when you are weighing your options. Try to determine both the positive and negative emotions you feel. Which ones are guiding your decision?

Some people will tell you that you need to leave emotions out of the decision making process, but I don't believe that is healthy or beneficial. The key here is to be comfortable feeling your emotions so that you can identify what you are feeling and why. Use your emotions as a clue to what your heart and your mind are trying to say to you.

Whatever decision you are facing, having confidence in yourself is huge! If you are staying connected with God and you desire to live in His will for your life, then you should feel at peace with whatever choices and decisions you make.

Have you ever struggled with indecision? How did you finally decide what to do?