One of the books/courses I am working on is Fully Convinced: The Art of Decision Making. I plan to have this completed by the fall of 2022.
The quality of our lives is largely determined by the choices we make. One of the ways to improve our decision-making is to understand and overcome the main reasons why people make poor choices. Here are some of those reasons I am planning to include in my book:
Doubt We Will Know What to Do – James 1:5-6 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…”. James 1:5 enables us to be fully convinced that we will know what to do about things we may be uncertain about now. This verse is like the tracking number we get when we order something to be shipped to us. The moment we receive the number, we attach our faith to it and believe, without a doubt, that what we ordered is coming. Similarly, we are to “order” wisdom for our decisions. “If we ask in faith” is the key here. Faith, which is the opposite of doubt, says, “It’s coming.” Why don’t you think about something you have asked God for direction about and say out loud right now, “Wisdom is coming. I will know what to do.”
Perfectionism – Perfectionism causes us to have a negative goal of trying to avoid failure. It causes us to focus on what may possibly go wrong (or what is wrong) rather than what is right or could go right. This trait is an enemy of good decision-making because it fuels the belief that we can’t make a decision in faith unless we know 100% it is the right decision. The perfectionist mindset often partners with the religious mindset which believes Old Testament verses like Jeremiah 17:9 (“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”) are still true today. This creates an inability to trust our own motives in hearing God; thus we cannot be fully convinced about anything.
Impatience – Those who are in a hurry to experience what is promised to them can make poor decisions. There is a process of maturity that is needed so we can actually handle (steward) promises well. (It is not unloving to delay giving the car keys to our younger children). David was anointed as king as a teenager, but it took nearly 15 years before he actually became king. He had opportunities to speed the process by killing King Saul, but he chose to take the high road by waiting for God to open the door for his promise. On the contrary, Abraham’s impatience caused him to make a poor choice with his wife’s handmaiden and a whole host of problems came as a result. Fortunately, Abraham grew from that experience and trusted God to fulfill the promise in His way. It is said of him in Hebrews 6:15, “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” As we focus more on inner success than outer success, we will resist impatience and make better decisions.
Fear – There are many types of fear that lead to bad decisions: fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of making a decision, fear of making a wrong decision, fear of what people think, fear of missing out, fear there will never be another opportunity like “this one,” or fear of rejection. Certainly, there will be times where fear helps us in decision-making (e.g. not putting our hand on a hot stove), but fear is usually an enemy of good decision-making. It is wise to overcome the lies creating fear before trying to decide on something.
People-pleasing –“The fear of man brings a snare” (Proverbs 29:25). When we over-value the feelings of other people in making decisions, we will invariably make wrong choices. Certainly, we are not to ignore the effects our decisions have on others, but low-level decision-makers are constantly trying to keep the people in their lives happy and maintain their approval. People pleasers prioritize popularity and peace in relationships above doing the right thing. They will tend to enable bad behavior in others because of an unwillingness to set boundaries that may upset people.
Selfishness – When we are primarily thinking of our needs, pleasures, and security, we will invariably make low-level decisions (and make choices that cause hurt and pain for others).
These are some of the things that can keep us from being powerful and effective decision-makers, but we have the mind of Christ and are empowered to make great decisions daily. So, here is a powerful belief to declare: I am a great decision-maker, and I attach faith to every decision I make.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.