Decisions are a part of life that we face every day. With everything from what we will wear to purchasing a new washing machine, our choices contribute as key components of our success and failures, which are also directly connected to our peace and joy.
Sometimes we are strongly influenced with the mesmerizing sparkle and emotional excitement that pulls us into a hypnosis. This crossroad can be a dangerous place to make a long-term commitment.
It's also common to experience regret after making a decision that did not turn out like we thought it would and is a discouraging environment, especially if we conclude there is no reasonable way out. For example, it would be miserable to buy an expensive sports car and then discover its uncomfortable to drive and is consistently breaking down with outrageous repair costs. Even more deflating would be to realize no one else wants it and we owe more than its worth.
We can go down the list and see the many different areas of life where people are disappointed and feel hopelessly trapped. Things like a huge house mortgage that is more like a ball and chain than home sweet home, a boring job one dreads every day, or maybe a relationship that feels like a mistake.
Whatever the case, we do not have to search very far to find individuals who have learned how to fake a convincing smile, while behind the mask there is much disappointment and agony. So if a major part of our happiness and contentment depends on right decisions, how can we improve our selection process from this point forward?
This is an important question because we are talking about our mental, emotional and spiritual state of being, and it will take more than a horoscope or a fortune cookie to help us.
Some may be thinking that life is similar to rolling the dice and taking random chances as the only option any of us have — the old "you win some, you lose some" philosophy. This haphazard attitude might be the way a non-Christian operates, but it's not the way God intended for his people to function in this life.
The Lord is always offering his compassion and power but is sometimes hesitant about fixing our problems until we are ready to follow his instructions. How many of you have ever stood in a crossroad desperately trying to decide which way to go? You may have ventured out and tried with all of your strength to do something and was left wounded when the doors were slammed in your face. Yes, disillusionment makes us feel sad and sometimes can stagger us like a hard punch in the nose, but it certainly does not mean we are finished by any means.
Within the two camps of thought between God's sovereignty that desires to manage our affairs and our freewill that makes us responsible for our own decisions, we can find a perfect balance. I believe we have the freedom to select and make choices, but I also feel strongly that God can intervene however and whenever he wants.
Have you ever considered that maybe the Lord did not open a door that you were pushing on because he knew there were dangers on the other side that would harm you? Remember the old saying, "Thank God for unanswered prayers"? When things do not work out like we planned, maybe we should stop and at least consider that possibly we are being protected from further heartache and discouragement.
Christ invites us to ask for wisdom, to pray, study and research the situation thoroughly before we continue forward because there is no excuse for not listening to his advice. Be cautious and remember that when things seem to good to be true, take your time, analyze the details carefully and pray about it.
Yes, God does open doors and can guide us into amazing blessings, but it's usually as a result of us being spiritually prepared and having the right attitude. Life is what we make it, and many times we are more unhappy with ourselves than we are with other people and all of our stuff. When we learn to depend on God for everything, he fills us with joy and peace, and this will always change our outlook on life.
Dr. William F. Holland Jr. is a Christian minister, author and community-outreach chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.