6 Guidelines To Making A Hard Decision

Date: October 10, 2022

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:12

An old legend tells of a farmer who had a beautiful daughter who was courted by a variety of young men, all wanting to marry her.  So, the farmer promised the hand of his daughter in marriage to the young man who could walk through his field of corn, never backtracking, and select the largest, most perfect ear of corn in the entire field.  And did it work?  No, the beautiful daughter, so goes the myth, ended up unmarried.  Here’s why.

The most promising suitor ended up walking through the field, looking, waiting, uncertain.  As he approached the end of the field, in desperation he selected an ear of corn, having passed up many which were superior to what he ended up with.  But other young men walked through the field, unable to back track, and ended up with nothing because they couldn’t decide which ear of corn was the most beautiful, the most perfectly formed.

Such, however, is a picture of those of us who suffer from a paralysis of analysis, unable to make decisions, always uncertain as to what to do.  You know folks like that?  The problem is only made worse by the vast number of decisions that have to be made today because of the complexity of our lives and society.

Life used to be simple.  No longer.  And when we are confronted with decisions and hesitate, the decision is usually made for you, by default.  And often, making a decision by default is one of the worst things that can be done.

Interested in a few simple guidelines that will help you decide?

Guideline #1: Face your decision. The first step is to clarify just what the decision is.   I’m thinking of a young man who was treated for cancer.  Now another lump has appeared.  His sister is afraid the old problem has returned.  So far, he’s done nothing.  Bad decision?  Yes.  Ignoring the problem is the decision to let the problem worsen.

Guideline #2: Realistically confront the options available along with the consequences of each one.   There’s something about our nature that rarely wants to think of the worst possible scenario.   Realism—not looking at circumstances through rosy glasses—is a valid part of good decision-making.  If you just can’t face the consequences of your decisions, get some help.  Ask someone who is honest and mature who loves you enough to give it to you straight.

Guideline #3: Write down or journal your possibilities.    Take a sheet of paper and divide it, making a pro column and a con column.  On a scale of one to five, measure the strength of each item you select.

Guideline #4: Make prayer a serious part of your decision making.   “God, what is your will in this situation?”  When you honestly can bring yourself to say, “God, may your will be done in this.  Show me clearly what you want me to do,” you are well on your way to finding an answer.

Guideline #5: Search Scripture to see what God has already revealed about your decision.  Many people are amazed to learn that the Bible deals with literally hundreds of situations that provide clear moral guidance for us today.  At the risk of sounding like this is an oversimplification may I say that I believe God’s Word gives direction in either statement or principle for every decision you will have to make in life, provided we are willing to apply the principles to issues facing us today.

Guideline #6: Once you have made a decision, based on what you feel is God’s will, don’t look back.


Resource reading: Proverbs 2:1-22