Listen to counsel and receive instruction so that you may be wise later in life. Many plans are in a person’s heart, but the Lord’s decree will prevail.
Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
– Solomon, Proverbs 19:20-21, 15:22
For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
– Jesus, Luke: 14:28-30
If you’re truly committed to bouncing back, you’re going to need to make good decisions. In fact, failing to make a decision is the same as choosing to stay stuck. Life is messy. Not making decisions invites chaos into your life, but making the wrong decision might make a mess worse than the first!
I remember a conversation that I had in a diner a few years back. A close friend confided in me that he wished he was more like me—able to make quick decisions when they needed to be made. I returned his compliment with a confession of my own: I wished I was more like him—able to patiently think and pray through decisions. As I look back, I believe the balance is somewhere in between not letting the fear of a wrong step paralyze us and not pulling the trigger too carelessly.
Here are a few pointers to keep you bouncing back:
Set a deadline
Give yourself a sufficient amount of time to make a decision and then force yourself to make one. The deadline might be 1-minute or 60-days, but set a reasonable deadline to gather the necessary information and make a choice.
Know your values
What’s most important to you? Do any of your options resonate more clearly with your values than the others? Personally, my two highest priorities are faith and love. So I ask myself: “Will this decision please God? Is this helpful to others or me—or both?”
Know your goals
Make your decisions in line with your goals and you’ll rarely make a poor choice. Do you struggle making decisions? Progress comes to a halt until a decision is made. Make your decisions quickly and wisely. A mediocre decision pursued relentlessly can give good results. Poor decisions are the equivalent of starting a journey in the wrong direction. You might get there, but it’s going to be a longer journey. Consider how a few poor decisions can create significant challenges in your life.
Flip a coin
No, you’re not going to leave a big decision to chance. Flip a coin and then check your emotions. Sometimes, we can lie to ourselves about what we really want. Before you look at the coin, you’ll notice that part of you is hoping for a particular result. That’s your answer!
Count the cost
Jesus’ advice to a man ready to follow Him was to make a list of pros and cons and make an intelligent decision based upon the facts. Think about the short-term and long-term implications. Don’t rush into something too quickly. Those that struggle often do so because they sacrifice the future for short-term benefit or relief.
Get wise counsel
Everyone should have a friend they can trust to give them wisdom even when we don’t want to hear it. Ask for advice and follow it. Just be sure you’re not trying to avoid taking responsibility for your life. The wisest man who ever lived (Solomon) taught that a wise friend can be one of your greatest helps when you’re stuck—if you will listen.