How I Make Difficult Decisions

Question-Mark-CloudSomeone famously said: “Either you’re in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or one is brewing and is on its way.”

It seems so true doesn’t it? We seem often to be in crisis mode.

I remember years ago that Martha and I were dealing with a major church crisis. As the days turned to weeks in the midst of that difficulty, we looked at each other and asked: “What did we talk about before this started?” Life can be consumed with crisis situations and difficult decisions.

Pastors, particularly, seem to have difficult decisions to make for themselves, the church, or for people within the church.

How do you deal with difficult decisions? This is what I try to consider when difficult decisions arise.

First, I try to remember that the ideal is rarely attainable. Most crises and difficulties have long since moved from the ideal stage. The question then becomes, “What is the best outcome we can strive for?” The sooner we get over hoping for the perfect we can look for a helpful outcome.

Second, I want to spend considerable time before God asking for His intervention and His wisdom.  God counseled us to ask Him: “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives liberally” (James 1:5).

Third, I want to wait on God. It’s very easy to set your plans and agenda without waiting on God to act. Either we leave Him out or we assume He’s not going to act.

As a part of this step, I don’t want to jump to premature conclusions. Sometimes, the answer comes in its time. If I move too quickly, I don’t have all the information I need to make a good decision.

Fourth, I want to seek counsel from wise and godly people. Seeking counsel does not mean I want someone else to make the decision. It means I want help looking at the situation. I can’t depend on others to make the decision. I must make the decision I feel God is leading me to make.

Fifth, I take great courage in knowing God’s wisdom produces good outcomes: “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity” (James 3:17).

Sixth, I look for open and closed doors. In fact, I often pray for God to close doors where I do not need to walk through. Acts 6:6-10 is a great biblical example of how this took place.

Seventh, I want to continue to pray for the decision after its made. This is not a second guess but a way of asking God’s continual help with our situations. Very few problems end decisively; they must continue to be bathed in prayer.

You are going to have to make difficult decisions. We need to seek God and look to others to help us.

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