The Choice is Yours
“I don’t know which one to choose!”
This was the cry of my seven year-old after I made the mistake of taking him to Bulk Barn and telling him he could pick a candy to get for a treat. Have you ever been to a Bulk Barn? It’s this magical place filled with bins of every kind of food imaginable. Of course, this usually includes at least three aisles of candy. Bin, after bin, after bin of different kinds of candy. You want gummy candies? Sure! But what shape do you want them in? Bears? Worms? Or how about snakes, dinosaurs, sharks, or whales? Let’s just say I had plenty of time to ponder the error of my ways as I waited for my son to narrow down his options.
I can empathize of course. Just ask my husband, and he’ll tell you one of the quickest ways to ruin my day is to ask me to make the decision of where to go for dinner. Even worse still, what to watch on Netflix. There’s nothing like sorting through a million and one different genre options to make for a “restful” evening!
Decision-making is hard. In the context of leadership, when the implications of making a wrong decision are significantly greater than picking a bad candy or wasting time on a sub-par movie, decision-making can be downright terrifying. Even paralyzing.
Sometimes the fear comes because God has made it clear which choice He wants us to make and (as usual), it’s not the easy one, the popular one, or the one we wanted to choose. I am way more familiar with this kind of fear than I would like to admit. There is much that could be said about this and what it looks like to step confidently into whatever God is asking of us, but that’s not the scenario that’s been on my mind lately.
See, there’s another type of decision-making scenario that, at least in my life, has led to fear- induced paralysis more than any other. I’m talking about the times when—despite being diligent in seeking God’s will, listening to wise counsel, and searching Scripture for guidance—there is just no clear answer as to where I should go or what I should do. No clear path and no clear direction from God. Just a bunch of different options that all seem to be equally good choices.
And I freeze.
Have I missed God’s leading? Is He staying silent because I’ve done something wrong? Has He just forgotten about me? Or—maybe—have I become so focused on doing the right thing that I’ve missed the point entirely?
I’ve been focusing on getting the decision right. God is focused on getting me right.
God didn’t create us to just carry out orders. He created us in His image, to be with Him and to be like Him. And being like Him means making decisions! As God is growing us in His image, He is growing us as decision-makers and the reality is, that would be hard to do if we never had to make any decisions.
So when we’re facing a big decision and crying out for God to tell us what to do, the truth is we will sometimes hear what could be the scariest command of all: “YOU choose.”
It’s scary because as much as we hate to admit it, we don’t know everything. It’s scary because we don’t necessarily have all the information we think we need to make a good decision. It’s scary because we know our own hearts, and if we’re honest, we can’t guarantee there won’t be any sinful motives influencing our decisions. We want an assurance of success, and when we’re the ones making the decision, there just isn’t one.
Feel impossible? It does to me sometimes. But then I remember something very important. I wasn’t made to be stuck in my fear, I was made to walk in faith! And so were you.
When we trust God enough to move forward (despite our fear!) and obey Him in making decisions, we can be absolutely confident that He will direct our steps. He will catch us when we stumble, and He will block us when we end up making the wrong decision. When our sinful side gets in the way, He will lovingly correct and forgive us.
And the beautiful thing is that through the process, we will become more like Him. We will grow in our decision-making. We will grow as leaders and best of all, we will bring Him glory as we carry His image out in this world.
So that decision you’ve been afraid to make? It’s time to shake off fear and make the call.
It’s time to move.
By Jessica Powell
Jessica has been married to her husband, Gary, for fifteen years and together they have three wonderful kids. She is passionate about leading others to know and believe God in a way that transforms every area of their lives. It’s a passion that became very personal when God called them to move to BC from Ontario two years ago, giving her a much deeper appreciation for how difficult faith can be at times! In her spare time, Jessica loves to watch baseball (especially the Blue Jays!), read a good book, or just relax with her family.