Decision-making has always been a sort of a thorn in my side. I’m not talking about which ice cream flavor to choose from either. I am talking about the deeper decisions that have the potential to change our entire course of life.
I always avoided making decisions out of fear that I would cause more harm than good. Not a habit you want to get into, especially when life is full of decisions we must make.
These crossroad decisions requires us to seriously and honestly analyze ourselves. It kind of relates to how many of us feel about the cross. Some of us are afraid to approach God because we know approaching Him requires us to confess things about ourselves that are most likely going to hurt. Confession is going to make us uncomfortable at first before we begin to feel better.
Looking back on the course of my life, I suppose I preferred to be comfortable in my environment. I like to avoid conflict, having tough conversations and putting myself or others at an emotional risk. Loyalty is my bloodline, so anything that could threaten my commitments to my surroundings, whether I am happy or not is always a bit of a challenge for me.
It’s not until I reach these crossroad decisions when I start to pull out all the “stuff” I have repressed. I would take a thousand punches to the face over changing a thing about my environment. That’s not the healthiest line of thinking I get it.
Well, recently I was faced with a decision that changed the way I prayed and the way I saw myself. I thought what I learned was quite interesting and wanted to share what God taught me with you. I feel this is important because as we all journey through life, it is vital we maintain a clear and honest perspective on ourselves and where we surround ourselves. There are so many doors that open and close around us throughout our lifetimes, and how sad it is to know we pay little to no attention because of the paradigms that are caught in our minds. After all, life is about choices, and if we are afraid to make them, we are stunted to grow into the beings we were created to be.
I lack confidence in myself:
No matter how I envisioned this change, I saw possible failure at every turn. Each time I would think about success, it was always shoved aside by some thought of failure. It was torturous because I was seeking a true vision based off my real capabilities and assets as a person. I couldn’t get a clear picture of that due to this repressed lack of confidence in myself. Realizing this opened a whole new window of questions like,
“Where does this lack of confidence come from?” These questions pushed me deeper into the abyss of my repression, where I literally had to dig out every buried cause I could find.
History is the root to my lack of confidence:
The more I dug, the more I found memories of rejection throughout the years. The more I found records repeating phrases like,
“ You’re a diamond in the rough” “You have potential.” The more I found broken promises and commitments. All these buried memories took root in a place in my mind that literally had tangled itself within the truth. My past experiences served more as chains rather than positive lessons, and I had no idea the strongholds they played in my ability to make decisions.
I sought God with all my heart:
I like to think I seek God in all that I do, but it took a lot of years to grow stronger in my walk in Faith. It wasn’t if I started off as some seasoned prayer warrior that knew exactly how to pray. Even today, I am still learning.
So, as I looked back throughout my history, I thought about my prayer life.
How many of these experiences did I actually bring to God? Did I even let Him in on any of it or did I automatically bury it into the archives of my mind? Did I believe as time went on, it would actually just go away?
What actually happened was it took root into one of the most vital elements of my being. I never talked about it with God. I never asked Him to guide and help me. I never asked Him to show me what I needed to improve on. I never thanked Him for my trials. I simply just slid right into the next season of my life, assuming I had it all under control. With this particular decision I needed to make, I chose to bring God in on all of it. I prayed faithfully in ways that I believe would cover every side of it. I asked for His will, not my own. I don’t recall doing that in any of my crossroad decisions. I prayed, and I listened.
I had others pray for me:
In addition to me praying, I asked some friends if they would pray as well. Looking back on my past experiences, I don’t recall any times I had done that. There were many seasons that I didn’t ask anyone to pray for me. This time, I was open about it and asked for additional prayers from other believers. Prayer is powerful. Extremely powerful.
I thought about the reasons I needed to make this decision:
There are a lot of things I brush aside. Even if something goes against my value system, I have a tendency to turn the other cheek out of fear of creating conflict. There was no more time for this typical practice of mine, rather it was the time I needed to bring to the forefront all the reasons I was even contemplating this decision in the first place. This was the time that required many moments of truth between God and me. Everything that made me feel bitter, angry and undervalued came into question.
Was it me? Am I too sensitive? Am I too needy? Am I over-analyzing? Or am I correct in my judgment calls? Are the feelings I am battling valid and just?
Once I made a decision for my reasons, it made my decision to do something about it much clearer. Honesty is key.
I received God’s answer, but still doubted:
The first time God answered me, it came in the form of a video. It truly blew my mind because the video was speaking directly to what my heart was silently feeling in that moment. I watched it twice and soon pretended I didn’t hear the video. It wasn’t because I wasn’t grateful I heard from God. I pretended because His answer was one that would require me to step outside of my comfort zone. I found myself finding reasons why it was just in my head and not really from Him.
Then, I spent some time at one of my favorite parks where I honestly believe God was talking to me. At some point that day, I thought I was losing my mind. I thought this is nuts! This is just me just talking to myself. But, the very last stop I made at that park, I had asked God to show me a sign. The sign he showed me was so unlikely to happen, that I knew in that very moment He was indeed with me that day talking to me.
One of the things I heard him say to me was, “Something is coming up that is going to require you to make a decision. It is going to be up to you what you decide. Either way, I am going to bless you. I know you are also worried about what your husband might say. Don’t worry I will speak to his heart.”
It was a couple of short months later, where I was faced with that decision. When I talked with my husband about it, He was understanding and had a peace about it.
The 3rd time He answered me, it was by an email from a Pastor’s blog. The article pretty much reinforced exactly what I had been hearing. The message basically said that God doesn’t care what decision I make, as long as it is within His will. Even after hearing Him loud and clear, guess what I continued to do?
Yep. I continued to doubt His answer. Why? Because He was telling me to decide for myself and that wasn’t something I was used to doing. It was something I was terrified to do.
I felt a peace after I made my decision:
I didn’t doubt my decision. In fact, I felt a sense of peace about it. I was eager to act on it and anticipated moving into the next season of my life. I knew through the many conversations and prayers to God, it was Him that opened this door, and it was Him filling my heart with a peace about it. Confirmation is a beautiful reassurance.
I made sure my plan was made in class and respect:
Every step on how I was going to reveal my decision was paved by God’s will. I did everything I could to make sure I was kind, gentle and honest. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt anyone. I knew there may be some people who would feel a bit betrayed, and even though that wasn’t the case, I wanted to be sensitive to that possible reaction. I tried to go over every detail and step with a fine-toothed comb. There were many little decisions within bigger decisions. My primary concern was leaving this season with a Christ-centered conscience.
The act of revealing the decision was an emotional challenge:
You can’t really know how you are going to emotionally feel and respond to something until you do it. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I certainly couldn’t prepare for the funnel of emotions that spun inside of me. There were tears, there were hurt feelings, and there were tough conversations. I was in a position I have never been in before; a position to make this decision for myself. I was sitting on the other end, having a say in what I felt was best for my life and family. It was quite a different seat to sit in for me, and definitely not an easy one.
I had three days of facing different people, all with many different personalities. I found myself in a situation where a dominant personality made me feel uneasy and uncomfortable. I hate conflict. I despise it. I don’t know how to respond well in situations where I feel dominantly influenced. That type of personality makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong, when in fact it is the exact opposite.
The side effects kicked my butt:
I thought I was going to run out of there screaming in joy. Although I did feel a great sense of freedom, I didn’t feel that abundance of excitement I thought I would.
Instead, I felt a sense of grief. I soon realized that this decision was the end of a ten year season for me. Within that season, I have developed relationships and have become accustomed to routines. I was also feeling hurt. You really get to see the true colors of people when circumstances change.
Nonetheless, it took the wind out of me for two days and it was hard for me to eat and focus on anything else. I felt this sense of loss of time and people. But, then I focused on my future…my new season. And that tiny scream of excitement became much louder.
I Praise God for all of it:
The journey to my decision and seeing it through didn’t take the praise out of my heart for God. Even the rough-edged parts to this I thank Him. My reaction wasn’t pristine by any means, but I am thankful for all of it. I know every detail was a vital teaching lesson. I know even in moments I felt I was alone, He was right there with me. Nothing was an accident, not even my mistakes. I know even in those, He will turn for His purposes.
It’s such a tough task at times. To be a part of the world, to face it with a Godly perspective, where so many have a worldly one. To combat all the arrows of greed, power, and manipulation with Love and honor. Flesh versus spirit, a very powerful experience when the two are in battle. But, here I am. Decision made. It’s done. I followed God’s lead. I thank Him for his Faithfulness and His rescue. For all the in-between tugs, the floodgate of emotions, the honest conversations, and the learning lessons. I thank Him all for it. And wherever this next season leads me, I know no matter what He’s got my back. Where God leads, I will follow, even if it shakes me to the very core. He comes first. He is who I seek above all else because I know as long as my hope is in him, no decision is too big for me to not to make. EVER.