You’re in line at your favorite coffee place. You look at the mass of menu options, and your brain immediately turns to mush. There are so many decisions to make. Plain coffee or espresso? Whole or skim milk? (For the record, I am not sure skim actually counts as milk.) Do you order a flavor? Which one of the dozens of options? Maybe you should have tea. You are next in line and you still haven't decided. Green tea, black tea, white tea, herbal tea? It occurs to you that tea may present even more choices. The pressure builds; what should you do? AAAHHH!
Do you ever get tired of choices? The society we live in gives us an overwhelming scope of choices. We are drowning in decisions. Tea or coffee? Blue or red? Steak or chicken? Go out or stay in? Get up and study or sleep away the day? A large percentage of these choices are amoral. They have no impact on eternal things. What we decide in these cases has little bearing on others. Other choices have incredible bearing on us and on others. They impact relationships, our witness and our beliefs. When the Holy Spirit nudges, do we respond or ignore it?
Have you intentionally laid your foundational assumptions? (The basis by which we make our decisions in life.) In essence, it is why you believe what you believe, your worldview. Most people make these assumptions subconsciously and therefore make choices re-actively. If you do not understand your foundations, then your choices/decisions are scattered and inconsistent. Life is full of hard choices and decisions. Be intentional about digging deep to discover what you believe and why you believe that way. This is a difficult process; you may not like what you find in this “dig”. I am struggling with this. Foundations are laid just by the process of growing up. Yet you can change them when you are intentional about establishing the reasons behind the beliefs. Define your core beliefs. They will serve as a guide when tough decisions arise.
After coming full circle, (your foundations are set, you’ve done your “digging” and you’re more self-aware) there is something else to contemplate. We are so inundated with casual choices that we tend to be very flippant about them and then miss the important ones. I think this goes hand in hand with our commitment to “busy.” We live "busy" always moving, with a million plates spinning at one time. This "busy" makes hearing the still small voice of God and the nudge of the Holy Spirit difficult. Are we choosing to listen, to hear what God is asking us to do? Are His instructions lost in the "busy"?
My girls have set sail in a new school year and I am missing them. For the past few weeks, I have been “moseying” through my days, getting a bit done here and there and ultimately accomplishing very little. I kept arriving at 3:00 pm (the time I leave to get the girls), and saying to myself "what did you do today?" Each day, I came up with no answer.
After a few days of this, the Lord very gently said, "What were your decisions today?" As I looked back at the day, I realized I hadn't made any real decisions. In other words, I had puttered the day away. "Drat!” I thought. "I'll do better tomorrow." Except that when I hit 3pm again…"Double Drat!" After 3.5 weeks of drifting from this to that and back again, I went back to the Lord. He very clearly said, "Choose. Are you going to drift your way through? Or will you choose?" And I knew. Knew I could live reacting to the things in life that bumped me into action or I could choose to do.
What does this mean for me – today, tomorrow, next week, next month? It means choosing to plan and following the plan. Choosing to schedule play time that doesn't leave me feeling guilty. Choosing to schedule work and volunteer time so one doesn't overwhelm the other aspects of life. It means saying "no." I have created a list of activities, which includes projects, tasks, work, volunteer hours and playtime. I am planning my weeks in advance, so I am not wondering where they went when I get to the other side of them. I am planning our meals in advance based on the calendar activities so I do not spend hours trying to decide what I want to make for dinner each night.
Have you been drifting in the sea of choices, so overwhelmed your mind was unable to decide? Are you drifting from task to task without focus or purpose? Find your purpose. Set your foundations. Why do you believe what you believe? Use that framework to prioritize your choices. Listen for His voice. It takes practice. Practice often to hear Him guiding you. Plan your work and work your plan. Remember the impact of your choices.