Three Keys for Fear-Free Decision-Making
by Lisa Cotter, posted in Excellence
In a world full of options, decision-making can seem overwhelming–especially if the decision will bear a significant impact.
“Should I pursue this occupation… move to this location… marry this person… quit this job… curl up into a ball with a pint of ice cream and not think about it…” and the list goes on.
The good news is that if you find yourself facing a major decision you don’t have to live in fear of choosing the wrong thing. All you need are trust, prayer, and grace to move forward with peace and confidence.
Key #1: Trust
God has a plan, or a will, for your life. (Jeremiah 29:11) A plan that if followed will lead to fulfillment. However, trusting that following His plan is the best plan can be scary, especially if you are worried that what God wants may not be what you want.
What if God wants you to take a job that will not result in the big paycheck you have dreamed of? What if God wants you to breakup with someone who you thought you were going to marry? What if God wants you to leave your hometown that you never imagined moving from? How is trusting in God’s plan going to take away your fears?
Well, consider this: While you might think you know what you want and what will make you happy, no one knows what will make you happy better than God because no one knows you better than God knows you.
Let’s test this theory. Do you know how many hairs there are on your head? Doubtful. But God does: “Why even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not…” (Luke 12:7).
If God knows you so intimately that He cares about how many hairs are growing on your head, you better believe He cares about what will bring you peace and fulfillment in this life. No one knows you better than God knows you. If you want to decrease your fear in decision-making, trust that God has a plan and strive to follow it.
But how are you supposed to know what God’s plan is and whether or not you are following it? One way is to ask Him in prayer.
Key #2: Prayer
It is in prayer that God can communicate with us. He can speak into our lives and tell us what He desires for us. If we don’t give Him the chance to do this, it will be difficult for us to understand His will for our life.
Asking God to reveal His will in prayer doesn’t have to be complicated. To start, all you have to do is share with God your situation and ask Him what He thinks. Most of the time He won’t audibly respond back or send a massive billboard with the answer, but He will send you His peace as He guides you towards His best plan for your life.
Prayer also gives God the chance to shape and mold our desires to match His. If I am unsure if God’s plan and my plan are the same I often find myself praying, “Lord this is what I want, but if it’s not what you want, then change my heart.” And oftentimes He does. That thing that I found scary, or imagined I could never desire, slowly becomes the thing I want most. By abandoning my will to His in prayer what He wants can become what I want.
Key #3: Grace
Grace keeps us united to God as His children, and while it is freely given, it can also be lost through sin. If you want to be free to make decisions without fear and follow God’s plan, you need to be in a state of grace, which means you are actively striving to live a life that follows God’s commands.
If a situation leads you to cheat… it’s not God’s will. If a relationship leads to be unchaste… it’s not God’s will. If a job leads you to lie or steal… it’s not God’s will. In sum, if the decision you are making leads you to break one of God’s commands… it’s not God’s will because it is never God’s will for you to sin.
Does this mean you have to be perfect to discern and follow God’s will? Certainly not, but it does mean that in your decisions and actions you need to at least be trying to avoid sin and if you do fall short, you need to actively repent by going to confession and resolving to start again.
If you are trusting that God’s plan is the best plan, praying through your decisions, and striving to make choices that keep you in a state of grace, you don’t need to fear making wrong decisions. With these spiritual foundations laid, even if you do misstep, God will be able to help you get back on track. Like a navigation system He will redirect you towards the path of His best plan.
Fear not! Through your intentional cooperation God’s will can and will prevail.
Be saints, it’s worth it!