When our youngest daughter was born, we gave our 4-year old son a choice: fly with me to Grandma and Grandpa’s to show them the new baby or stay home with his dad and siblings.
He agonized for days over the decision – not because he didn’t love Grandma and Grandpa, but because if he stayed home he would get to spend a night at a friend’s house and watch a movie (which tells you how often they got to watch movies).
This son gets his decision-making capabilities from his mother. We both tend to agonize over decisions.
If you struggle with decisions like I do, here are a few things you can do to make the process less stressful.
How to Make Decisions Without Going Crazy
1. Make a deadline for your decision.
We often drag our decisions out forever, waiting for that illusive perfect option to suddenly appear. Ask yourself: is there a good reason to wait on this decision? If the answer is no, set an early deadline and make the decision.
2. Find out why you’re so obsessed with the perfect decision.
If we’re stressed out by decision making, usually there’s a reason. My four-year old son wanted the best weekend possible. He couldn’t decide if that would be Grandma and Grandpa or the video.
We’re no different. We obsess over decisions because we want something: fun, success, comfort, approval, or even lack of conflict.
The more we learn to make life about God, the less we’ll worry about perfect decisions.
3. Set a timer.
Too often we wear ourselves out thinking about the decision for hours on end. To avoid this energy drain, set a timer. You have x number of minutes to think and pray about your decision. When the buzzer rings, time’s up. No more thinking about the decision until your next decision-making session.
Impossible you say? Read on.
4. Renew your mind.
Even though you say you’re going to move on, your mind won’t want to. It will throw a fit. Make the decision now, it will scream. So what will you do? You’ll renew your mind every time it shouts. If you renew your mind often enough, it will stop shouting.
If you want some questions to help you see your decision from a biblical perspective, try the Decision Making and God’s Will questions.
5. Accept the unacceptable that you can’t make a perfect decision.
I know what you’re thinking because I’m thinking the same thing: That’s not true. I AM capable of making perfect decisions. I just have to do a little more research!
We perfectionist always think we can do things perfectly if we try hard enough. But we can’t.
Here’s why: We don’t know the future. We don’t know all the variables. And we’re not God. Only He can make perfect decisions. The sooner we drill that truth into our heads, the better.
But here’s the beautiful thing: no matter what decision we make, He can redeem it. He works all things according to His purpose. He can bring good things from our mistakes.
6. Don’t second guess your decision.
Once you’ve made your decision, focus on the good in the path you’ve chosen. Do not focus on the good you’re missing on that other path! Wipe that from your mind. And don’t even think about changing your mind unless there’s a really good reason to change it. The next step is the key to being able to do that.
7. Thank God.
We have the perfect God. Who needs the perfect life? Go ahead and make decisions and goals. But while you’re working on those goals, never forget: Life is about God – not goals.
And if life is about God, then ANY life is good.
- Decision Making and God’s Will – 13 Questions That Will Help.
- 9 Questions to Help You Overcome Fear of Failure
- Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. By Kevin DeYoung (I love this book!)
- How to Stop Perfectionism in Its Tracks. Podcast by Loren Pinilis at Life of a Steward.
Image courtesy of Michal Marcol at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Question: Do you have a hard time making decisions? Do you have any tips for making decisions?