Man look at stop lights

My Decision-Making Embargo

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Me at 1:15am: I should do a 30-day series in January. It’ll be great! I already have one outlined. 

Also Me at 1:16 am: Stop it. You are not allowed to make any more decisions tonight. 

A lot of the time, my ambition gets the better of me. I come up with a great (or what I think will be a great) idea and will go hard after it at the expense of myself, my relationships, and my sanity. So, there are times, like now, when I have to put an embargo on my ability to make decisions.

No Unilateral Decisions

Most of the time I trust my decision-making abilities, but that doesn’t diminish my need for wise counsel around me. In fact, because I trust myself so much and pride myself on my good decision-making skills, my need for wise counsel is absolutely vital. Just like anyone else, when I make hasty decisions or decide out of a place of striving, I leave myself open to all kinds of blind spots.

Nothing happens in a vacuum. Every decision we make affects everything else. If I choose to stay that extra hour at work today, I’m choosing my job over an hour of exercise, an extra hour of sleep, or an hour of reading. If I choose to make a bad food choice at lunch, it’ll hinder my performance at work after, cause my body to hurt later, and likely cause some unwanted weight gain. And the list of examples can go on and on.

Because decisions are interconnected and can create a domino-like effect, I want to make the best decisions possible. I’ve come to rely on the wisdom of those around me when I am making big decisions.

No Decisions During Distress

Lately, I’ve been exhausted on multiple levels which, I’m sure you can understand, is not the optimal time to be making decisions. When I’m exhausted, laziness kicks in and I only want the easy way out of things. I tend to make choices that will make me feel good at the moment but do nothing in the long-term. I’ll choose to spend more time working instead of resting because I want to be able to cross things off of my to-do list. Or I’ll eat nothing but popcorn, burgers, and pizza because those things satisfy a momentary craving. More than that, I’ll make decisions to neglect relationships and my own body, so I’m thankful for those people around me who will stress my fundamental need for community and the pursuit of health.

I once heard a wise person say not to make any decisions when you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (H.A.L.T.), and I think that’s very good advice. I will often go through that list as a check-up when I’m about to make a decision that deep down goes against who I am.

No Hastily-formed Decisions

I’m a contemplator. I think I’m a fairly quick contemplator, but I’m a contemplator nonetheless. I don’t like being put on the spot, and I really enjoy being able to run through a list of possibilities and check off all the variables before I make a decision, voice an opinion, or make a commitment.

I love taking time and sitting with a decision and I wish everyone did this more often. I’m not a big fan of impulse decisions because, for me, if my gut impulse is the right one, it’ll bear out after I’ve had the time to think about it.

While I consider myself a good decision-maker, I’m nowhere near as good at making decisions as the Lord. My decision-making abilities pale in comparison to the all-knowing Lord of the universe. I just can’t compete with that! So, in addition to asking wise counsel into my decisions, I’m consistently getting better at inviting God into those moments. I’ll sit with him, go over all the variables with him, and then just listen. Sometimes I get the impression of which way to go, other times I feel like I’m supposed to wait, and other times I don’t have a leaning any particular way. Sometimes I hear him correctly and other times I’m way off, but the fact that I’m practicing and submitting to him is worthy of celebrating in and of itself.

Sometimes a decision-making embargo is just the thing to ensure I continue living from a place of health and rest instead of striving.

How do you make decisions?

Do you ever put a decision-making embargo upon yourself?

How do you think you can make better decisions?

To go Deeper: Read Let the Dominoes Fall, It’s All Connected

Want to learn more about wisdom?
Check out A Proverb A Day, the ebook is now available for pre-order.
The paperback will be available on March 5th. 

Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 


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