We can learn from every experience if we will examine the situation, look at the underlying issues, listen for wisdom, and recognize the safety of thinking twice. The Smart Girl knows that every challenge offers a châkam moment.

Recognize the Limits of Logic

Even when we make the best choice we can with the information we have, life is full of uncertainties. We give ourselves the very best chance of succeeding when we think twice, but continually second-guessing yourself and waffling about your choice is just as debilitating as jumping in headlong with no consideration of what might happen as a result. Such agonizing can paralyze your thinking as you keep rehearsing the negatives to the point that you can’t see the possibilities.

You won’t enjoy the good decisions you have made if you are constantly looking over your shoulder wondering, What if I had done it differently? Is it too late to make a change? Because of my life experience, making choices feels like an adventure to me. I don’t fear making them. Others, many times because of their life experiences, find themselves twisted inside out each time they face a choice. If this describes you, I understand. Anxiety over the potential consequences of your decisions can make you feel as if your life is a field riddled with land mines just waiting to explode.

Sherry struggled for much of her life with the inability to make a decision. As a teenager, she was forced to make choices that were way over her head while being constantly admonished to “think before you act.” Her parents threw her into the deep waters of responsibility with little advice but plenty of harsh and noninstructive words. As a six teen-year-old, she was told that if she wanted a car, she’d have to earn the money to buy it herself, which she did.

Her father refused to go with her to choose a car, but when she came home with her purchase, he promptly upbraided her. “Why did you buy that car? Don’t you know it doesn’t get good mileage? It’s just a piece of junk. What were you thinking?”

Of course, Sherry wilted under his disparagement and immediately tried to take the car back. She tried every way she could to finagle the previous owner into giving her money back, but he wouldn’t budge; a deal was a deal. So she drove home in her long-anticipated first car with tears running down her face. “How could I be so stupid? Why didn’t I check on the gas mileage? How am I going to be able to afford this car?”

She lived at home a few more years, during which her dad seemed always ready to point out where she had missed the mark. Then she went away to college. She paid as many bills as she could from her job as a checkout clerk at the grocery store, and she covered the rest with student loans. Every choice made Sherry nervous. Was she doing the right thing? Was she taking the right classes? Was she dating the right guy? Would her dad approve? Was she really the loser he seemed to think she was? Self-doubt permeated her every decision, so she often put off choosing until the last minute and then frequently tried to change or cancel her choice.

Only after marrying a great guy, who patiently led her to understand that few choices are either absolutely perfect or completely flawed, has Sherry been able to do better in her choice making. She still hesitates, still second-guesses herself, but she is learning to do the best she can with what she knows and then trust God with the consequences. She’s discovered that He is easy to consult and faithful to answer. Even though from time to time her old insecurities creep in, she makes herself decide and then diligently reasons with herself about the truth she now knows:  unlike her father, who didn’t know how to love his daughter, her heavenly Father is always there and more than willing to help her out when she needs it.