Another Word…by Gus Keiser

June 26, 2017

Leave your foolish ways behind, and begin to live; learn how to be wise.

                                                                                                Proverbs 9:6

 As I’ve grown older, I find that decision making has become more of a challenge. Now logically, one would think that the older one gets, with the amount of wisdom they’ve accumulated over the years, one should be able to apply that acquired knowledge to make decision making much easier…but, for me at least, that hasn’t been the case.  I feel that part of my problem is that, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also become more impulsive…another process that seems out of sync with one’s development, since we tend to equate impulsivity with the younger and in-a-hurry generation.  But the one thing about my condition that I think I share with other questioning decision makers of all ages is that tendency to ask, after just having made a decision (especially if it turns out to be a bad one) is “If only…”

Those two words, “If only” have a way of popping up a lot in our conversations with others, especially those close to us, a family member or a good friend. And when they do, it’s clear that the person who voiced them is living in this sea of regrets over the decision they just made.  “If only I’d said no to that adulterous opportunity.”  “If only I’d said no to that “get rich quick scheme”.  “If only I hadn’t allowed myself to become so much in debt.”  “ If only I’d married a Christian.”  “If only I hadn’t lied.”

So, how does one escape this poor decision making process? How does one avoid the “if only’s”?  First of all, we aren’t going to be able to all the time.  There are still going to be those moments of impulsivity, those moments when we become too overwhelmed by circumstances or just too busy to do the right thing.  But there is at least one step we can take (that is, if we’re willing to make the time to take it) that is guaranteed to be of help…and that is, talk to God…hit the knees and pray.  I know, this advice sounds a bit “churchy,” but I’m guessing far too few people actually take the time to do it, or even think about doing it.  But, do think about it for a moment.  When we’re faced with some life-altering decision, how many of us really take the time to drop to our knees, look up to God, and say, “God, I need your help with this. I can’t do this one on my own.  God, I need your supernatural wisdom.  I need Your help”?

 I’m convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that nothing would make God happier that to be invited to come alongside us and give us his wisdom as we struggle with our decision. In the book of James, the writer offers us this: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”  In these words, James tells us that when we make any decision, large or small, the best place to get final input is from God, “the Great Decider”.

While it still remains a good idea to seek the advice of a trusted friend when we’re faced with some huge decision, I would encourage you to first seek the wisdom of the wisest and most trustworthy friend any of us have: God. Go to God first.  Talk to him.  There’s no reason for any of us to wallow in the mire of “If only”.  God’s always going to be there and he’s always going to listen…and he stands ready to generously impart is wisdom.  So take the time to stop, think, pray, and then decide.  It won’t help you to avoid that occasional bad decision and the “If only” that follows, but it will go a long way in making life’s decisions a bit easier to handle…I promise you.

Wise and Wonderful God… help me to always bank on your wisdom as I face the tiny and tremendous decisions of my life. Guide my mind and my tongue so that I’m more inclined to engage my brain before my mouth.  Amen.

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