Decision making is about trust. Trust is a really scary thing. It’s risky. It makes us vulnerable. It’s also necessary. Everything relies on trust.
Could you get out bed in the morning if you didn’t believe that the floor would hold your weight? Could you drink water (a critical requirement to sustain life) if you didn’t trust that it was clean and properly filtered? How about getting to work? Could you make it on time every day if you weren’t brave enough to trust your car on the highway? How about when it comes to things like trusting a someone enough to be your friend? Or trusting God’s calling for you?
Trust has the ability to take us on great adventures. The lack thereof, however, has the ability to completely hinder us in every way possible. So why is it so hard to trust?
Because we’ve all been severely burned by trusting in the wrong thing. And now, we question everything.
Trusting God should be an easy one though, right? We know he is always good, and that his plan for us is always right. I know for myself, the issue is not that I don’t trust God, but that I don’t trust myself. I have a difficult time trusting that the choices I make are from him, and not my own selfish desires.
I have a bad habit of letting fear rule my life. Somehow, it seems safe to fear everything. There is no risk involved in living in fear. So I question everything, doubt every decision I make, spend hours analyzing every option in every situation. Terrified of making the wrong choice, I destroy any progress I ever seem to make and end up at square one over and over again.
You see, I’ve made a lot of bad choices in my life. Some I knew were wrong and did them anyway, mostly out of curiosity. Sometimes, I knowingly make bad choices because I don’t believe I have a choice at all. Far worse, I sometimes make bad choices fully believing that I’ve made a good choice, the best choice, often, even a godly choice. Yet, I find myself back at square one again and again. I have lived this cycle so often, that I feel I am perpetually living in a special kind of hell, lying in my own self made bed of consequential terror. I have so little trust in myself, that I can’t clearly point out even one good decision I’ve ever made.
The enabling answer I give myself (which only fuels the cycle of fear and anxiety) is that, I’m not supposed to trust myself. Right? Doesn’t the Bible say we shouldn’t trust our hearts, that they will deceive us? Yes, it does, in Jeremiah 17.9! It clearly says, “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle no one can figure out.” (MSG)
I’m an if/then kind of girl, my mind thinks in equations. So, IF the heart is deceitful, THEN I should not trust anything my heart wants. When my mind wants to loop around and around and analyze every little choice I make, I tell myself I have good reason to. I can’t trust myself, and that has been proven over and over in the recurring cycle of destruction that is very evident in my life. Plus, the Bible says so.
The Bible also says that if we take delight in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). But if our hearts are deceitful, why would he give us any desires we have rolling around in there.
Here’s why. Because God created each one of us with a plan. He has engraved desires and purpose on each of our souls, and every one of us longs to live out that purpose. And that purpose can only be lived out when living in sync with God, letting the Holy Spirit guide our lives.
See I like to do things my way. I see things very logically and mathematically. To me, trusting God’s plan always requires faith in something that I can’t see and I don’t like that. I sometimes mistake my own “logical” plan to be the godly plan. Take for example, God’s calling on me to write. Writing has no guaranteed income. There is no guarantee that anyone will read my words. No guarantee that anyone will benefit from it. Those things require faith. Getting a “real” job, having a salary, a title, a definition of my skillset and class, those are guaranteed and hey, I’m trying to provide for my family here, so doesn’t it make sense to do it my way?
Yes, it does make sense and that is exactly the kind of deceit that is easy to get trapped in. See, God’s plan is never possible with our skills and logic alone. His plan for us is only possible when he is our everything. It will always require faith, and it will always require reliance on him.
So is that it? The key to making good decisions is to choose the one that makes the least sense and requires faith? Sort of, but no. See, if you keep reading in Jeremiah 17, after it warns us to beware of our deceitful hearts, it says this; “But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.” I used to read that verse and think it meant that anything I wanted was likely self-centered and full of hidden motives that only God recognized. I believed that God was always seeing the real me, and that I disgusted and disappointed him.
But what hit me today was not peering into my soul and exposing me for the filth that I am. What stood out to me in this verse was that, no, I can’t always trust myself, but I can trust God. I have a tendency to follow paths that are meant to fix some kind of insecurity in my life, and nothing but God can do that. Luckily, God doesn’t leave me to do it all alone. When I can’t tell whether choice I am making is on the right path, I know God can. If something isn’t right, he will let me know! If I don’t hear him, he will close the door.
What’s really important here is not our decision making ability. It is our willingness to trust and obey God. When we invest our hearts, soul and mind in our relationship with God above all else, we are able to start seeing ourselves and others through his eyes. We are able to hear his voice above all others, and we are able to recognize when an open door is not from God. Will we still question ourselves at times? Yes. Will we still have doubts and fears? Undoubtedly (pun intended). But we can drown out the voices of doubt with the knowledge that we can trust God! The more we trust him, the more he proves himself faithful, the more he leads us to the adventure he planned for us, requiring us to….trust him. That is the cycle I want to be on!
This message may seem pretty basic to some, to others downright confusing. Some of you, however, are like me, and keep finding yourself caught up in the past and afraid of making choices. For some of us, feelings of anxiety and inadequacy have a real grip on our lives. My advice, to myself and to you, is to stop over-thinking and trust God. If you feel God calling you to something, take the leap of faith. Even if the decision you make is not God’s best, I promise, if you give it to him, if you trust him, he will make your paths straight. He will reward your faith. He will steer you in the right direction. So stop analyzing! Make a decision! Base it off God’s Word, and put it in his hands. No matter what the outcome, you can rest knowing that choosing to trust God is always the right choice.