Jim liked his reputation as a leader. At work and in church people respected his opinions and sought his counsel. But in the privacy of his home things looked very different. His dark moods had caused him to put off decisions on everything from home repairs to disciplining his children. He feared his wife’s disapproval as well as the consequences of making wrong decisions. Most of all he felt he had no energy to invest in thinking things through and choosing a direction. He spent a lot of energy trying to avoid spending energy on decisions.
If you resemble Jim you should know that indecision does not mean you are “depressed.” It is simply one symptom that commonly accompanies people labeled that way. This can be a chicken-and-egg question. Were you feeling down and consequently had trouble making decisions or did you make decisions you are second-guessing, which causes you to feel down?
Some people in their weakness become paralyzed when faced with even minor decisions. They either hide from them or rely heavily on friends, family or even impulses to avoid the responsibility to make careful, analytical choices.
Whether your indecision is a chicken or an egg scenario, it is sometimes nice to have someone take your hand and walk you through the darkness. Let me do that briefly.
If you are a follower Christ I have simple hope to offer you. There is no reason to fear making decisions. God’s will is not a treasure found only by those who know the right tricks. It is not a shell game. The will of God is not something you look for. It is something you do (see another blog article on this subject).
Are you having trouble focusing and making decisions?
1. You still have to make them. Not making a decision is still a decision (Joshua 24:14-15; 1 Kings 18:21; Luke 9:23). Here is an exercise (adapted from Paul Tripp’s book Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, p. 250): Take a sheet of paper and make two columns with these headings: “Concerns” and “Responsibilities.” Make a very complete list. Decide to obey God in the matters that are your responsibility. You have a “to do” list for your decisions now. Under “concerns” you have a prayer list because those are the things you cannot control.
2. You should avoid being controlled by fear, worry or anxiety over what others will think of your decisions (Matthew 6:34). Fear of man blinds your ability to make good choices and it proves to be a snare. What is most important in your decisions is not the way others will react but whether or not your actions please God. It is possible that the most popular decision you could make would be one that does not honor God. Make it your primary goal to please Him (2 Corinthians 5:9).
3. You should be confident in God’s ability to give you what is good (James 1:6-8; 4:8). Your decisions are a reflection of your theology. The God of the Bible is both sovereign and good. His plans may be hard to endure, but they are for your good and His glory. If your goal is avoiding hardness you will need to find a parallel universe somewhere. If your aim is honoring God it is better to let Him determine the boundaries in which you will find maximum happiness. He is good, so what He does is good.
Ten articles in this series: