If you haven’t already, chances are you will soon. You’ll be confronted with a big decision – a crossroads in your life – an opportunity that has the potential to turn your life upside down and re-shape the world as you know it. You feel like the path you choose could be your big break, or it could turn out to be a massive mistake. It’s something that everyone experiences in one way or another – I’ve seen my parents, my friends, and students that I’ve ministered to throughout the years struggle to decide what to do with the big opportunities that materialize in their lives. For me, big decisions regarding my next step in life seem to come frequently. A new job opportunity, the possibility of a move from one city to another, or a chance to further my education seems to always be presenting itself from one year to the next. Here’s five things I’ve learned as I’ve made big decisions – I hope that you find these five tips helpful for decision-making in your own life:
1. Be faithful to God
Maintaining the right perspective is half the battle in making a wise decision. This means being willing to put your desires on the back-burner to try to discover what God desires of you – and then living in what God wants! View your life as a blank page before God, and then ask Him to write your story. In every decision, big or small, choose the path that seems to be most faithful to God. Make it a daily priority to spend time in the Bible and to pray for wisdom – it’s the only way to better understand God’s heart and will for your life, and the only sure way to know how to live faithfully in relationship to Him.
2. Gather info
Gather as much information about the opportunity in front of you as possible. What people, places, things, and responsibilities are involved? What aspects of this potential opportunity align well with your skill set and gifting? Make a list of the pros and cons – how do they stack up against each other?
3. Be diligent in the little things
It’s easy to be so stressed out by a big decision that you forget to be diligent in doing the “little” things that God has put in front of you right now. Working with excellence at your current job, studying hard for your next exam, or staying committed to a diet or exercise routine are examples of little things that, when taken together, help maintain a healthy rhythm in life. Having the self-discipline and maturity to continue in these healthy rhythms helps to prove that we’re in the right place to make a big decision.
4. Ask others for input
Sit down over coffee to ask a trusted, seasoned Christian in your life for advice. These people usually have the ability to reveal blindspots in your decision-making process and speak valuable words of wisdom into your situation. Get counsel from your Christian parents, pastors, church leaders or some other spiritual mentor. Write down the advice they give and let it marinate in your mind for a few days – you might learn a lot about yourself and about the decision you’re making in the process.
5. Learn to live in the gray
There’s probably no black and white, no right or wrong in the decision you’re making – it’s a gray area of life that you’re trying to navigate. At some point you’ll probably have to choose between multiple good options and learn to be content with the decision that you’re going to make. Big decisions make us uncomfortable because we’ll never know what could have been if we had chosen a different route. And that’s okay – God is ultimately in control and He has our best interest at heart. It takes courage and poise to make the best decision that you can and then own up to it. God is pleased when you wisely and courageously make big decisions for His glory. Live in the gray, and don’t look back!