We all want an answer to the questions burning down our ability to make plans. Which step next? Which project, plan, purpose, prayer should I attempt now?
When your future is uncertain, it feels like the decision you make now could unhinge the whole timeline of God's purpose. As if that were even possible.
Can we mess up God's will?
We spent the evening with a friend needing answers and hearing only the loud silence of too many opinions, too many options. The purpose of her life is the center of a wheel and in every direction, it seems, the choices fanned out like spokes.
Can we really mess things up? Make a choice from a heart of good intentions that would thwart the plan of God for us?
We feel like there must be perfect steps to take toward our real future, but maybe we don't make any perfect choices other than choosing to lay all the options down at His mercy. Maybe every spoke of the wheel leads to the same continuous ending, once we've chosen Christ and acknowledge our own chosen-ness dripping down the cross. All the rubber hits the road the same. Maybe.
Maybe we make decision-making too hard. I know I do, and all my maybes are indictments against my own ability to choose.
What's lacking is a confidence that God can and will direct us when our heart is set to please Him. The half-dozen options laid out before our friend didn't make her feel free, but stuck and confused and worried that what if?
What if I choose wrong and blow the whole plan?
What if I jeopardize other people with a careless choice?
Life is anchored with non-negotiables which ought to make our decisions easier. The things that must be done are most essential, and weeding out the unnecessary helps us determine those things that are worth making the framework for our days, our lives.
The rhythm of retreat and return needs anchors. Every season brings different anchors, or essentials, but when I can identify the most important parts of life and stick to a schedule that treats them as such, life goes much smoother.
Every choice is weighed in light of how it fits or doesn't fit in the framework of my life.
But after it's all been sifted and filtered and concentrated down to the most essential, after all the anchors have been set, we still are left with choices. Not deciding is not an option, because immobility is choosing the stagnant now of a perceived safety; if I just do nothing, we are tempted to think, then I can't make a mistake.
Life is moving and rolling and constantly swelling us upward with delight and spiraling us downward with despair. Fear of decisions doesn't bring us stability.We choose and sometimes we're wrong but we live and our hearts are set toward God.
So she made a decision, our friend. She has a lot of experience making huge leaps and tiny steps of faith. She made a simple, next-step decision that fit with her anchors and her bigger goals and that moved her forward.
What is so hard about making decisions?
Sometimes we think we would just like that still small voice to say right or left, but God wants our attention, our seeking, our commitment to Him. That's what we would miss if all the answers spelled themselves out for us.
When we can settle in our hearts that seeking God is the best decision, He gives grace for every good intention and freedom to let our yes be yes, our no, no.