On Making Big Decisions {Crafting a Heart for Jesus}

Another week, another post from Ryan.  I hope you'll enjoy this feature, a fresh perspective from someone who isn't me. :) I will admit that this post is a heavy one but I also think it is beneficial in remembering how to posture ourselves in this scary world we live in.  Feel free to leave comments with questions, Ryan is great to answer them.


 I hate big decisions. I always feel like I’m going to make a huge mistake and it’s going to magically ruin my life. It’s been really difficult, perhaps mainly because I don’t have (and
haven’t had) a father for most of my life. I always find myself thinking, “Man, I really wish I
could just run this by my dad.” Hollywood is to blame, really. A dad is good for a few things in
a movie or TV show, and one of those main things is sage advice. Children, no matter how old
they are, come back to dad when they are confused because they know he’ll know what to do.
And I want that. I want that so bad.

I’ve moved across the country…twice. I moved out to Los Angeles to go to college, and after
living out there for five years, completing my degree, meeting and marrying my wife, and
starting a career, I moved back. All of these decisions were incredibly difficult. And each time I
really wanted to go sit out in the shed with my dad (it’s always in a shed or a garage or
something, usually while drinking a beer…right?). I wanted to know what the right decision
was. I wanted to know that I was safe, that I was going to do the right thing.

Lacking that parental role model has forced me to make a lot of decisions. Some huge, some
not so huge. Some were smart decisions. Others were…not. But one of the things I’ve learned
is that there’s often no right decision. When there is, it’s usually really obvious. Like…I
shouldn’t quit my job to pursue a career as a professional interpretive dancer. Yeah, that’s an
easy one. No grey area there. But I’ve found that with most decisions there just isn’t this
magical solution, this one path that if you miss it, you are forever ruined.

Let me use an analogy. I’m often asked by my students about the concept of “the one.” No,
I’m not talking about the Matrix, or Harry Potter, or Star Wars. I’m talking about dating.
There’s this idea that there is one person out there for you. And they are perfect. And when
you meet, the sun will shine and the birds will sing, Nickelback will promise to stop making
music and all will be right with the world. It’s wonderful and romantic, and it also happens to
be a complete steaming load of what the Apostle Paul would call skubala (infer the English
equivalent for yourself).

This should be obvious to us. What happens when someone is divorced? Was the first spouse
the one, and they ruined it? Or was the first spouse a complete mistake and the next spouse is
really it? What does that do for the kids of the first marriage? Are they collateral damage from
a huge mistake? What about the death of a spouse? Does “the one” reset?

It’s utter nonsense, and yet we believe it anyway. Let’s just pause and consider…do we really
believe that there is anything we can do that will actually, unequivocally, irrevocably ruin our
lives? Is there something we can do that when Christ sees it he says, “Yeah…I can’t fix that”?

Of course not! See, even if I had a father, his sage advice would probably not be so sage. He’d
probably say dumb things on occasion. That ideal notion I had of the perfect advice guiding me
through life…it doesn’t exist. Sure, there’s prayer. And God does direct our paths. But
sometimes (and I believe this is actually a lot of the times) he just wants us to pick a path. He
likes all our options and he just wants us to pick the one that we like the most. Because our
decisions aren’t ultimately about maintaining this perfect life, or striving towards some
unattainable ideal. They are about living an honest and obedient life. Sometimes that means
doing what he says. Other times that means making a decision when he remains silent.

We want the sage father to give us the answers. We want the advice that solves all our
problems. But our earthly fathers don’t meet that standard…and neither does God. He doesn’t
want to give us all the answers. He wants to live among us as we stumble through the
complexity of life. I still hate making decisions. But I have to remind myself all the time that my
decisions don’t decide the fate of the galaxy. Most of the time they don’t even decide my fate
or the fate of my family. So take a deep breath, remember that Dad will keep us all safe, even
in the midst of our mistakes. Look at your options, and assuming dad doesn’t have anything to
say, just pick the one that makes you happy.

Ryan blogs over at Home Cooked Jesus {the Jesus you need for the day to day and not just Sundays}.  He is also what I consider a Bible scholar, though he would disagree on technicality.  He studies Hebrew and teaches at a local bible college while pursuing a masters degree in the biblical field.  

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