October 22, 2009
Tough Decisions Ahead? Ask for Advice
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor
Don't go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many counselors.
How do you make decisions? Do you jump in with both feet, or do you paralyze yourself with what-ifs and fear of potential regret? Are you overly impulsive, or are you wise? Do you take time to pray, or do you lean on your own understanding? There are all sorts of methods, and all of those methods and our usage of them have brought us this far, whether for good or for ill. Either way, here we are now.
And "now," unfortunately, is a very tough time for a lot of people. The stakes are probably higher for a lot of choices you must make. What to do? I don't intend to answer that for your specific case today, of course, but I do want to encourage you not to forget those who are in the fight with you, and those who have gone before!
Decisiveness is a strength of mine, one I'm very glad for. Many's a time I have watched a colleague or peer twist in the wind over something while already being comfortably down one road or the other myself. My wife meanwhile... well, her strength tends to be less in making the decision than in gathering (and gathering, and gathering) the research that presumably is supposed to aid in the making of the decision. We like to call it a good balance, and part of the reason we make a good partnership.
But neither of us alone nor even together complete the circuit. God is to be sought, both in His Word, and in prayer and listening. But even then, we still aren't using every resource He has given us.
Have we forgotten that Christianity is a team sport, rather than an individual one? This applies to practicalities like doing ministry and missions, as well as to more of the "theory" of Christian living, like thinking about the meaning of certain passages and doctrines, encouragement, prayer, and the passing on of wisdom.
Henry Ford was once asked the key to making good decisions. He said, "How do you make wise decisions? Experience. How do you get experience? By making stupid decisions."
Ha ha, true. Thing is, though, we don't always have to be the one making the stupid decision. One of the great things we redeemed sinners share is a litany of bad decisions in our pasts. Don't let those go to waste. Ask about them, and offer them regarding yourself to others.
As our verse today says, don't go into war without guidance!
Intersecting Faith & Life: What's the best piece of advice you ever received? Pass that along to 2-3 other people this week. If you're in need of advice, seek out someone who has lived through your current stage of life and just listen to what they have to say. Whether you accept their counsel or not, chances are it will guide your eventual decision one way or the other. And should you feel led to share unsolicited advice with others, perhaps you'll first accept this piece of advice from Logan Pearsall Smith: "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right."