I have been wanting to do a blog post on how to make better decisions in life for quite a while, but hadn’t made the time to do it!
Recently though, one of my wonderful readers reached out to me via email. This is my favorite thing, by the way! You should do it, too!
Anyway, in her email, she had detailed a few challenges she was experiencing.
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I could really relate to what she was saying. I’ve experienced every single one of those things, and some of them remain a challenge. I truly believe challenges are meant to be faced, and not ignored. My reader clearly believes this, too, which is why she was reaching out!
As I was reading her email, it became clear to me that so many of the challenges she was facing regarding her faith and her family’s faith boiled down to one thing. Decisions.
Like myself, my reader grew up in a Christian home. She went to church, private school, youth group, mission trips… the whole Christian scene.
Here’s the thing: That Christian bubble (like any other bubble) pops at a certain point. That point is when you graduate high school and move out of your parents home. And while it would be handy, most parents don’t hand their kids a manual that says “How to Make Better Decisions in Life” as their little birds fly from the nest.
Knowing how to make a decision is such an important life skill… and when we are faced with decisions (you know… daily), it’s important that as Christians, we’re making decisions through the lens of the gospel.
Making Decisions and Growing Up Christian
I can tell you that I fully understand what it’s like growing up in a bit of a Christian bubble. As I’ve encountered more people in my life that are NOT from a Christian background, I have come to realize that sometimes (and I’m definitely not saying always) growing up Christian can be a disadvantage.
Let me explain that very controversial-sounding statement:
When we grow up in a Christian setting, a lot of times we assume beliefs that aren’t necessarily ours. As we mature, we may come to accept those beliefs as true. However, it can be difficult to engage in that lifestyle of “truly” believing it and “owning” it, when we’ve kind of been along for the “Christian ride” since the day of our birth. Riding the coat-tails of our parents faith, shall I say.
On the other hand, people that become Christians that have been raised in non-Christian homes tend to be extremely grateful, amazed, and in awe of how great God is. They take that awe and use it to make their future decisions.
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Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade growing up in a Christian home, and we’re raising our kids in a Christian home. But knowing what I know now, I’m going to make sure my kids understand WHY we believe what we do. I’m going to expose them to other religions and belief systems. The reason I will so boldly, confidently, and honestly, fearfully, do this, is because I want them to grow up to be adults that OWN their own faith.
Making Decisions as a New Christian
For new Christians who grew up in a non-Christian home, there are other challenges. They may not be adjusting to getting off the coat-tails of their parents faith, but the challenges are very real.
My husband falls into this category. He didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and he became a Christian as a teenager.
When he moved out of his parents home, and went away to University, he also left the group of friends that had led him to the Lord. He was a brand new Christian, without a lot of Biblical understanding, and he was at a stage of life where decisions were coming fast and furious.
To sum it up, he made some poor choices. He also made some good ones, but he really could have used an anchor… a lamp post to show him his way and help him make those important decisions. Being a new Christian without the fellowship of community and Biblical knowledge is a scary place to be when there are choices to be made.
So you can see that regardless of whether you grew up in a Christian home or a non-Christian home, learning how to make better decisions in life is challenging.
It can be a struggle for a young Christian to know how to make better decisions in a relationship, how to make better decisions for the future, and just how to make better decisions in life in general.
Making Better Decisions in Life
What I mean by all of what I wrote above is that when we move out on our own, find a spouse, get married and get busy with life… it can be hard to hold onto that faith we were “fed,” and it can be hard to make Godly decisions.
We need to learn to get to a point where we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, as it says in Philippians 2:12-13:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.”
God is pretty amazing… I just read that verse above this morning in my quiet time, before I read the email from my reader. God has beautiful ways of preparing us for what he calls us to do.
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I could see from what she wrote that my reader was clearly aware of where she needed to improve in her Christian walk. That is so, so good.
She just needed a little help making the right decisions that would move her relationship with God forward.
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You need to make a change right now. • That’s a bold guess, but I feel like it’s a fairly good bet. I know this because I’m usually needing to make a change. • You know the feeling. The feeling like things aren’t going as well as they should. Or you keep making that same wrong choice over and over again… even though you know what’s right. • Whether it’s making a choice with your morning routine, your food, your fitness, the way you respond to your kids or your spouse, or perhaps something in your career… These things all present opportunities for making a good choice or a bad choice. • I often have to remind myself of an important truth. What we have is not our own. The fact that we woke up this morning is a gift. • The one that gave us this beautiful gift of life also gave us free will and choice. Let’s use that free will wisely. • • • • • #freewill #lifechoices #changes #giftfromgod #choosewisely #thenextrightthing #entrepeneurthoughts #motivationalsayings #successhabits #smartwork #momstruggles #growthquotes #choosehealth
How to Make Hard Decisions as a Christian
Please remember that following Jesus is a journey. You are growing, and you are being refined. If you were doing everything perfectly right now, you’d be Jesus. So, give yourself some grace as you grow in this area (can you see why my blog is called The Grace To Grow?). I truly believe that learning how to make better decisions in life is a learning process that goes on forever.
That being said, as important as it is to give yourself grace, you also need to own the fact that God gave you the gift of free will and choice. As Christians, we are not justified and saved by our works. We are saved by grace. But from that saving grace there has to be a spill over of obedience. That should be our response to the grace of Jesus.
So take that grace, take that obedience, take that choice and free will, and make the changes that you already know you need to make.
What does that mean for you? Where are you struggling with poor decisions? Have you been avoiding church for too long? In a relationship with someone who doesn’t share your faith? Are you engaged in an unhealthy cycle of gossip at work? Slipping on your duties at home? Losing your cool really easily when dealing with your kids? Or maybe you’ve allowed your health to stagnate or decline.
All of these things are your responsibility, and you have the power to make better choices.
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Whatever it is that you’re struggling with, identify it, understand it, and choose to do what’s better. Do it out of obedience, and then find the joy that comes from making that right choice in obedience.
How to Make the Right Decision in Love
You know that you need to make better decisions. The reason you need to make those better decisions is for your own quality of life, and for the benefit of those close to you. But most of all, you need to learn how to make better decisions so that you can honor God.
The thing is, though, all of these better decisions need to be made in love. The Bible says that anything done without love loses the message and the purpose. Look at what it says in 1st Corinthians 13:1-3:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Don’t just make decisions that are “healthier” our of fear or resentment… make the right decision in love. How do you make a decision in love? You need to gain a Biblical perspective.
So how do you gain that Biblical perspective? Soak yourself in the word. I’m going to strongly encourage you to wake up half an hour earlier than you are right now. Start reading through a book of the Bible slowly. I always enjoy Ephesians when I’m looking for a bit of a reboot.
As you read through it, write down what is sticking out to you. Remember that the word of God is not about you, it’s about God. From your notes that you make while you read the Bible, pray. Pray those things over your life, your faith, and your family.
The more you are in God’s word, the more it will transform your thinking and your actions.
Romans 12:2 is one of my favorite passages. It says,
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Prayer is so important, but without being in the word daily, that transformation isn’t going to happen in the same way.
I love this post from the blog “Milk and Honey Faith,” on 3 ways to discern God’s voice when making a decision. Check it out!
I also highly recommend the book “Decision Making and the Will of God,”. It has a permanent spot on my bookshelf. It’s a great book that highlights the Biblical view of making decisions.
How to Make Better Decisions in Life
You absolutely can learn how to make better decisions in life. God is a good, good father, and he has given us all the tools we need to make good decisions. It will not always be easy, but with his Word as our guide and with the power of prayer, you are fully equipped.
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CHECK OUT THIS POPULAR RELATED POST ABOUT PRAYING SCRIPTURE. PRAYING SCRIPTURE IS A GREAT WAY TO ASSIST YOU AS YOU SEEK TO MAKE BETTER DECISIONS.
Making better decisions is a life long process. I’m so glad that we’re given so much grace as we navigate this life. We’ve got a wonderful Navigator, though! He’s given us the directions, we just have to follow.
Thanks for the insightful blog post.
I love this honest look at adopting a faith of our own. I think it’s a process that makes us far more approachable and relatable to others with different beliefs!
This is a very detailed yet simple post on how we can make decisions in every aspect in life despite our upbringing or path that we are on in life today. I love your statement, “God has beautiful ways of preparing us for what he calls us to do.” It is so true. We need to be open to what God has planned for us and our decisions in life should reflect His will.
I love this insightful instruction about how to make decisions in life. Because you’re so right…we must equip ourselves to make decisions that line up with who we are in Christ. And like you pointed out, those who haven’t “owned” their faith can be at a disadvantage. Thanks for this valuable advice.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Cindy!
You have highlighted two key points: spending time in the word will help us transform our thoughts and actions, and making better decisions are those decisions that are made in love. I couldn’t agree with you more. That includes self-love and self-compassion. It is important that we do not neglect our needs as well. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful post.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Caryl!