by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.
This was the question my daughter recently asked on her online journal. For her, the indecision was about which field of study to select for her next Master’s degree.
I suspect we’ve all been faced with indecision at various points in our life.
My mamma told me long ago that if I’m questioning a decision or choice, then is the time to step back and sleep on it before moving forward. Of course when she shared this bit of wisdom with me, she was hoping it would stop me from making wrong choices as a teenager. And it did work pretty well I must say — when I listened to my intuition. When we have a strong instinct that we should not do something, we probably should not do it.
There isn’t a perfect formula that will assure we will always make the best decision. But a good ‘ole pros and cons list is always a good thing to do.
It’s rarely — probably never actually — true that there is only one course of action to take. So when considering a decision, list your options — any and all alternatives that come to mind. Don’t take the time to evaluate while you’re doing this kind of possibility thinking.
Since it’s often helpful to approach a decision from as many perspectives as possible, don’t just ask friends and family members for their ideas — ask strangers as well.
The goal is to choose a course of action that is the most reasonable and balanced. So be sure to weigh the possible outcomes. Visualize the result you hope for. You want to feel comfortable with your decision. You want to feel what is right. Don’t question what feels right with logic.
I have an example of this. We were trying to select fabric to have our living room furniture upholstered. I loved a certain fabric — its color, pattern, the way it felt. But logic kept telling me I should select a different fabric that was probably more durable and potentially longer-lasting. I did. And I never liked my decision. Unfortunately, I was stuck with that furniture for a few more years and was so happy when I was finally able to buy new. When I did, I bought exactly what I wanted without analyzing its practicality.
What we don’t want to do is get stuck wavering between two possible courses of action and remain unable to decide, move or act. Hesitating, wavering and waffling are often seedlings of fear that can become habit-forming. Indecision is a decision to do nothing — not the decision we want to make.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity.” I love the word — must — in this statement of promise. I love the assurance that there must be a right decision, a right place, a right choice for each of us at all times. That includes right now — at this very moment.
Perhaps sometimes we get so focused on trying to make decisions for tomorrow, we neglect today. Maybe we need to begin our decisions today — making the most of the present moment, our present situation, our present job, our present home and so forth.
Sometimes, too, we can get so busy analyzing all of our options and possible outcomes, that we don’t ask God what His will for us is. He most certainly has a perfect divine plan for all of His creation. The problem is that we don’t always ask, listen or follow His direction.
Remember the story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. We read that “the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:” (Exodus 13:21) It took them a long time to reach their Promised Land because they relented many times to fears and doubts and stopped trusting in God’s guidance.
I feel certain that God is leading each of us each day. And we can each reach our divine heights as we follow and trust His lead. But we must ask and listen first — moment by moment, step by step.
Yoda, the most powerful Jedi Master of the Star Wars universe, assured a young Luke Skywalker — and it works for us, too: “The answers are within you.” And so they are. God places the right answers in our heart. Trust your heart. God will enable you to feel what the best decision is.