As leaders we must constantly work at making decisions simple. The first step in making a decision is of course to pray. God will often change our perspective in prayer. Without it we are tempted to make decisions based on our emotions instead of being directed by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The right decision will never be contradicted in scripture. A young woman once asked me God’s will for her in dating a non-Christian man. My advice was for her to spend a week in prayer and look at what the Word had to say about it. One week later we met and she had discovered the right decision on her own. Many years ago I was scheduled as one of many speakers at a conference. Three weeks prior to the conference someone close to me passed way unexpectedly. I called the church and asked to be taken off the program. The pastor in charge felt strongly that I had made a commitment to attend and that I needed to be there. It was not easy but I kept my commitment. In the process I learned some valuable lessons. A leader keeps commitments. God’s strength is made greatest in our weakness. We can live above our emotions. These lessons have served me well over the years.
Sometimes what we call decison making is really just escape. Dr. Joyce Brothers said: “SPEED IN MAKING UP ONE’S MIND is not an important element in successful choices. In fact, the snap decision is often not a decision at all, but a technique of avoidance. Though it created an illusion of command, a lightning choice may mean only that someone has snatched at the handiest alternative rather than come to grips with the real issues involved.”
Here is a great question by Bob Biehl to ask when making decisions:
What are the 5-10 most relevant, proven facts in this situation? And what are the fundamental assumptions I’m making about this situation? Right up front, distinguish facts from what are simply your assumptions. Assumptions are what we believe to be true, but have not proven. They can be very faulty foundations on which to build your decision. In my work with people, I’ve found that the most frequent violation of sound principles is to decide before all the facts are known. Somehow in our minds we have a need to decide NOW. We have a need to bring closure, a need to have things settled. Because an undecided decision often brings stress, our minds compel us to make a decision too quickly before the facts are in. We decide on the basis of 3 facts and 17 hunches, rather than 17 facts and 3 hunches. Peter Drucker said “Once the facts are clear, the decisions jump out at you.” So find the facts. And then as you pray, wait on God to speak to you to avoid making an emotional decision.
(More tomorrow on Decison Making)