• Kara Abernathy

Making Big Decisions

How to Make Big Decisions

There is anxiety associated with making big decisions because people don’t want to choose incorrectly and screw up their lives.

I’m not talking about what cereal to eat or what dress to buy. I’m talking about the big leagues – career, spouse, location, etc.

I think back to my sophomore year of college when I realized that the major I was pursuing was leading me to a career where I knew I’d be unhappy in the long run. I panicked knowing that all the work I had done in my high school AP courses to enter college a semester ahead was now worth nothing. Advancing in a major that I wasn’t passionate about would be a waste of time and money.

Therefore, I had to make a life-altering decision. It was time to swallow my pride, change my major, and basically lose the status of being a semester ahead with credits. This took a shot to my ego because I had always valued my plan-ahead persistence.

While I knew I needed to change my major, I still had to figure out what change was appropriate. I started weighing all of the different options and made a list of items I valued in a career.

A few weeks passed. The fall semester of sophomore year was ticking by. I was praying that God would open a door and make it clear what path I should pursue.

Through a lot of prayers, counsel with others, and figuring out the logistics, I realized that anything I was trying to tackle on my own wouldn’t bring nearly as much success as surrendering it all to the Lord.

There is a difference between asking God to bless what you’re doing and asking God to lead you to do what He will bless.

I was so caught up in asking God to provide answers on my timeline that I realized I wasn’t surrendering to His.

Keeping an Eternal Perspective

Even most large decisions are temporary. Life is fleeting, and our time on earth is out of our control. We don’t know how long we will live or what God has in store for us.

Therefore, we should weigh all decisions with an eternal mindset.

Having an eternal mindset means focusing more on what is to come that what is now. As a Christian, we have the hope and permanency of Christ.

This takes the pressure off of our shoulders because while we could try to make every decision ourselves, we can relax knowing that there is so much we don’t have to try to figure out. Trusting in Jesus is much more satisfying than trusting in ourselves.

The book of James warns us of making plans apart from God and the temporary nature of life.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live, and do this or that’” (James 4:14-15).

The fact that we don’t know what will happen tomorrow reminds us that our lives are not ours. They belong to God to give Him the glory. We should live set apart.

Making Decisions to Live Set Apart

When faced with a large decision, we should ask ourselves who or what can help me live set apart?

You see, our purpose in life should be to reflect Christ and grow closer to Him. If we consider all decisions based on that purpose, it narrows down the number of overwhelming options without taking away all of our freedoms.

For example, we can choose any career where we can live for Christ and honor Him by working hard. We can choose any spouse who is a believer that can help point us to Christ.

We have the capability and liberty to make choices while living under God’s guidance.

The point of our lives should be to reflect God and that takes precedence over any future plans.

The reason why it is important that we keep our relationship with the Lord as the number one priority is that James warns us of the necessity.

“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!” (James 2:19).

Even demons believe there is a God. The belief that God exists is just the first step. It’s what we do with that belief that changes the course of our lives.

Decision-Making Questions to Consider

As you approach big decisions, consider the outcome. I’ve listed several questions below that I’ve used to navigate decision making:

  1. How will this decision help me reflect Christ?

  2. Will this decision hinder my ability to reflect Christ? If so, how will I overcome that?

  3. How will this decision affect my schedule? Will it make me too busy or not busy enough?

  4. Will I be able to prioritize my relationship with Christ throughout my day?

  5. If I go forward with this decision, what does that mean for my family (or future family)?

  6. Should it wait until another season?

  7. What potential roadblocks or trouble can I anticipate?

  8. Knowing life is fleeting, does this decision help me keep an eternal perspective? Will it draw me closer to God?

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© 2019 Kara Abernathy

Disclaimer: my thoughts do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of my employer.