The decisions we make – even good ones – have far reaching impacts. Sometimes even good decisions go sideways.
How do we make good decisions? Here are some tips:
- Does Scripture already give clear directions? Jesus distilled the Ten Commandments into two: love God and love people. Often, the easiest avenue to decide is to ask, what does love require of me in this setting?
- Is this problem mine to get involved in? Or is this decision clearly someone else’s responsibility? If I step in, am I taking over in a situation that does not belong to me?
- What is the next right thing to do? A complicated situation can usually be navigated by taking one next step at a time.
- Does this decision line up with healthy life principles and relationship boundaries? Does this decision protect the gifts God entrusted to me, and foster self-respect and self-care? Will this decision bring personal growth in my life?
- Is this decision a good example of what I teach my child? Would I encourage my best friends, my family members, and children to make a similar decision?
- Do the people I most respect agree with this decision? Have I asked my trusted friend, counselors, close family, and spiritual leaders for their insight and advice on this decision?
Another strategy to help with decision-making is to what you will do if you say yes to this decision.
Second, make a Pro/Con list:
In one column, list reasons to take this course of action. On the other side, list why this is not a good idea.
Third, prioritize the reasons.
The Bible teaches that priorities lead to progress. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom,” (Psalm 90:12 NIV). As you prioritize your thinking, wise decisions appear. Use an ABC system to assign an A to those vital reasons on the list. The supportive reasons get a B. C is for creative but not imperative reasons.
Fourth, compare the high priority reasons from both lists.
Evaluate the A reasons for saying yes to the A reasons for choosing no. If there is a tie, move to the B reasons. One list may be longer, but quantity is no substitute for quality. To build clarity, prioritize the evidence and focus on A reasons.
Sixth, use The Brainstorm Test
if you still cannot reach a solid decision. Gather the wise people in your life in person or on a video call so you have the best minds brainstorming together on your behalf. List every possible solution from your team and your imagination.
- Cross off the ridiculous.
- Eliminate ideas that don’t match your bank account, morals, timeline, current education, or skill level.
- Move possibilities to a Pro/Con list. Run new ideas through the Pro/Con exercise. You may see ideas that can become new goals, fresh possibilities to research, or options to investigate further.
These tests produce a system that allows you to make most decisions expediently and confidently. Even the most puzzling choices can be pursued with diligence, so a solution becomes evident.
God speaks through
- His Word
- wise counselors
- the Holy Spirit inside you
- these decision-making tests.
Listen. God’s good hand is on you as you journey ahead with His help. You will say, with Ezra, “Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage,” (Ezra 7:28 NIV).
PeggySue Wells is the bestselling author of 31 books and founder of SingleMomCircle.com. Speaking and writing, she shares practical tips to connect and belong through faith, family, friendships, and writing. For more helpful life skills, see The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make by Pam Farrel and PeggySue Wells.