People are fearful of a lot of things, but most of all they are fearful of making a bad choice. Choosing, as simple as it sounds, can cause some people to become a nervous wreck and others to shutdown and become unresponsive. Such is the fear of making a wrong choice that many will do whatever they can to avoid making one. But if you want to live a successful life you need to learn how to make clear and concise choices.
Past Failures: Making a choice can have a lot to do with your perception of previous events. If you are self-conscious about something you have failed at in the past, it can affect similar choices going forward. This is what is called a confirmation bias, which means you will interpret potential choices and future situations with similar expectations. However, since most people have hyperactive minds and tend to overreact negatively to past events this can often lead to false interpretations and choice paralysis. For example, just because you failed at starting your first business doesn’t mean you are doomed to fail every time thereafter. Your mind might perceive it that way, but it’s not reasonable to assume you will always fail. True, your choices won’t be perfect all the time, but rather than forming a radically negative opinion one should learn from the past failures and make adjustments for futures attempts. Beating yourself up and feasting on the failure in your mind will not do you, or anyone else any good. Learn from your choices (good and bad), but never lose faith in the end goal.
Make a Choice Now: Don’t hem and haw. God looks for those who believe, not for the one who is 50/50 or says, “Uhmmm...I don’t know.” Jesus simply said, “Follow me” and Peter and Andrew dropped their fishing nets right then and there and followed Jesus (Matthew 4:19-20). Joshua said to the tribes of Israel, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” — Joshua 24:15. Throughout the Bible, you never hear God talk like this, “Well….think about it and get back to me.” But rather everything He speaks is now, make your choice now, go now, believe now. Either do it or don’t, no middle ground. Unfortunately, many people today expect everything to be perfect before they make a choice. They will say, “I will become a missionary as soon as God provides the finances, so in the meantime, I am just waiting on Him,” or “I just really feel like God is calling me to seek His direction.” But the reality is people who talk like this are petrified of failure. They will make excuses, but they will never dare to make a choice because in their mind it’s safer to do nothing than something. Don’t be an avoider of choices, be bold, face them head on and trust that God will guide you.
Choice and Circumstance: There is a good story we recently heard that illustrates how different people in similar circumstances can interpret their own choice — There was an alcoholic Father who had twin sons. The father was a bad man and filled with rage. As the years passed one of the sons became a rage-filled alcoholic like his father. The other son became a successful CEO of a company and never touched alcohol. When someone asked each of the sons why they turned out the way they did, they both responded the same way, “Because my father was an alcoholic.” This story is a good example of how each person can interpret the choices they have in life. One makes a good choice the other a bad choice, but both are in the same circumstance. You have to choose how you will deal with adversity. Either succumb to the pressures of the world or fight on for a better path.
Tim and Will