3 Guidelines To Dealing with Panic-Driven Decisions

Date: November 17, 2022

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!  Psalm 27:13-14, NKJV

Haste is the parent of nine-tenths of our mistakes!  Do you believe that?  If you question that fact, think back on some of the wrong turns in life which you took, decisions that you made without thinking through the consequences.  Those panic-driven decisions are the choices which we live to deeply regret.

Of marriage we sometimes say, “Marry in haste; repent at leisure.”  That means when you rush into a marriage because you are not taking enough time to be sure of what you are doing, you may have a long time to regret that decision.

Some people, of course, are procrastinators–they will wait as long as possible in deciding.  Queen Victoria of Britain was such a person.  She would wait as long as possible before making a decision.  Then she would finally decide.

The opposite, of course, is the individual whose decisions are panic-driven, and decisions thus made are usually incorrect ones.  Dick Johnson tells of such a woman.  Having been diagnosed as having cancer, an acquaintance of his decided that she would rather end her life than to face the trauma of radiation and chemotherapy.  Driven by panic, the woman very sadly took her own life.

But what was even a greater tragedy, says Johnson, is that three days after the funeral a letter of apology arrived from her doctor saying that he had just been informed by the medical laboratory who diagnosed her as having cancer that the lab’s diagnosis was incorrect.  She did not have cancer.

Are you confronted with a situation right now, and you are uncertain what to do?  Do you feel panic-driven?  Then the wise words of F. B. Meyer should speak to your heart.  Meyer, who learned personally that panic has pitfalls, wrote the following:  “Never act in a panic nor allow man to dictate to thee:  calm thyself and be still: force thyself into the quiet of thy closet until the pulse beats normally and the scare has ceased to disturb.  When thou art most eager to act is the time when thou shalt make the most pitiable mistakes.  Do not say in thine heart what thou wilt or wilt not do, but wait upon God until he makes known His way.  So long as that way is hidden it is clear that there is no need of action, and that He accounts Himself responsible for all the results of keeping thee where thou art.”

When you feel panic-driven, the following guidelines will help:

Guideline #1:  Back off from the situation and do nothing at all until you have laid the entire matter before the Lord in prayer.  Following the death of his sweetheart and fiancée, Joseph Scriven wrote, “Have we trials and temptations?  Is there trouble anywhere?  We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer.  Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share?  Jesus knows our ev’ry weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Guideline #2:  Get competent advice.  Remember, panic-driven decisions never include people who may say, “Look, this is not so bad after all.  Have you thought about this?”  Panic produces a paralysis of good thinking, so listen to others.

Guideline #3:  Put your options and their consequences down on paper.  Writing things helps to clarify your thoughts.  Only then are you in a position to make a decision.

But what if you follow these guidelines, and you are still uncertain?  Wait.  As the Psalmist put it, “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14, NKJV).  Remember, panic-driven decisions are almost always ones you can live to regret.

Resource reading: Psalm 27