Whether you tend to become paralyzed over making significant decisions or often act before you have all the information you really need, choosing a course of action is something we all face every day. And sometimes we look back and wish we had made wiser decisions in the past.
Perhaps it’s something as small as whether to go out to eat or make dinner at home. Or maybe you’re wondering if you should make that difficult phone call. You might be considering infertility treatment, going back to school, moving across country, and even getting married.
God always has something to say about the matter, and it’s always right to pray about any decision. But God has given us the ability to act, to choose, to be in charge of significant parts of our lives and our world. As long as we’ve seriously sought His guidance there comes a time when it’s up to us to take action. And sometimes that’s a little scary.
Just a few days ago I was talking with a young lady who had always wanted to become a nurse. She had started taking a few college classes several years ago but having a baby turned her life in a different direction. At 32 years old, she’s now considering going back to school and wonders whether it’s too late. Her husband can’t understand why she would want to embark on such a challenging pursuit. But she can’t get the desire to become a nurse out of her heart.
So how do you make a decision when you don’t know the future? Here’s the ONE question that will help you make any decision:
What choice will I least regret next year, or ten years from now?
Imagine yourself in the future. You can’t be absolutely certain of anything in the future, but you can imagine how you might think and feel. Unless it’s clearly a matter of truth or evil there’s usually no clear black and white answer to our human dilemmas, but we still have to choose.
Here are a few examples of how this works:
- Should I make that difficult phone call?
- If I need to offer someone forgiveness, how will I feel next year if I still keep holding this grudge? In ten years? Will it be any easier then?
- If I need to ask for forgiveness, won’t I regret not doing so in the future? Even if the other person remains angry, wouldn’t it be freeing to look back and know I did all I could?
- If I need to reconcile with someone, what would it feel like in ten years if I am still estranged?
- Should I go back to school (or start a business, etc.)? In four years (or ten years) I’ll be that many years older whether I go to school or not. Will I regret not trying? So what if I “fail”? Or, will I regret taking that amount of time away from my children while they’re small? Which will I regret more?
- Should I invest the time and money to stop smoking (or lose weight, or get physically fit)? What might my health be like in a year, or ten years, if I don’t do this now?
I told the young lady who wanted to become a nurse that she’ll be 36 years old in four years whether she goes back to school or not. She can take a small step now in the direction of her dreams, such as investigating an online class to get her prerequisites in order, or apply for financial aid. She’s got nothing to lose. And won’t she feel good in five years, or ten years, when she’s working in a field she loves!
Whatever challenge, dream, or decision is in front of you, imagine what your life would be like in a year, or ten years, if you don’t do anything about it.
And then imagine what might be if you DO.
Don’t end your life with regrets of what might have been. Pray about it. And then take SOME action today.
Your Turn: A year from now, what will you regret NOT doing? Leave a comment below.
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