I think I’ve finally figured something out…making a decision and choosing something are two different things. Lots of people struggle with the concept of “decision-making”. Some people flat-out refuse to make a decision; some people make decisions because no one else will; some people thrive on making decisions (for themselves and others); some people continuously complain about their inability to make decisions, while some just moan and groan in their hatred of making decisions.
Yet it is something we all do every day of our lives; making decisions about what to eat, what to wear, where to go, who to spend time with, what tasks are priority ones, when to buy things, where to buy them…on and on it goes.
If you’re someone who takes decision-making in stride, you can become very calloused towards those who get paralyzed when a decision needs to be made, even if you accept their inability. It just doesn’t make sense to you because you’re thinking, “Just make a decision. It’s not the end of the world.” Yet, for those who can’t make decisions, it feels like it just might be the end of the world!
I was thinking about people and decisions one day, wondering how they came to the conclusions which led them to make decisions I thought were a little crazy. Then I started wondering why I was wondering about them when I had enough of my own decisions to make in life. This led me to wondering how many people might wonder how I’ve come to some of the conclusions I have in my lifetime and likewise, thought they were crazy. Now, if you followed all that…welcome to my world…it can be a real head game sometimes.
Anyway, in the midst of my wondering I heard something in my spirit like, “Choosing is so much better than making a decision.” Huh? Then some spiritual truths came to mind: “Choose this day whom you shall serve. Choose life. Choose joy.” Then clarity hit; choosing is different from making a decision because it means you commit to your choice. Choosing is a conscious action on our part, one which we actively participate in. But making a decision can be simply that; making a decision with no investment planned for that decision and we can either actively participate in a decision we make OR we can simply make a decision and let things happen as they will happen.
I hope that makes sense to you because it sure does to me! (Smile inserted here) Let’s look at some examples in life and then look at what the Bible says. Or maybe we should do it the opposite way. Hmmm… see… there’s another decision Instead, I think I’lI just choose because this forces me to “go with it”. If I just making a decision I can or cannot commit to following up with that decision.
So, I’ll choose to go with some examples first! Maybe the question comes up about should or shouldn’t we sell our home and buy a new one? I suppose that’s actually “two” questions but I choose to go with it anyway. We could struggle with the first part for a long time; discuss all the pro’s and con’s; is the market good now or should we wait; do we really want to uproot our family and start over; on and on we go. Then the second part; should we buy new? Rent? Lease? Move in with somebody else? Hmmm…the possibilities and decisions could go on and on, and even after we make a decision we often “go back” on it.
That’s because we didn’t CHOOSE! So, instead of trying to make a decision, we could still go over the pro’s and con’s; still look at the economy; still take our family into consideration, BUT then CHOOSE to sell our home. Choosing commits us to taking action while making a decision doesn’t. Choosing is a matter of the will, while making a decision is a matter of the mind! And decision-making is rarely mind over matter; it’s matter over our minds and that usually doesn’t end well.
Another example could be with relationships, specifically let’s think marriage. Is getting married really about making a decision or is it about choosing? Making a decision to get married…well…that almost sounds business-like. Not sure how far that will go! But choosing your spouse…now THAT feels so good! I choose YOU! You choose ME! We didn’t “decide” to get hitched, we chose to love one another through anything and everything! What a difference choosing makes over making a decision!
Let’s finish with a less important example: It’s 10 PM, you’re craving ice cream and there’s none in the house. In trying to decide we ask all sorts of questions like: Should we really get dressed, go out to the car, and drive to a store just to fulfill a craving? Is it really worth the calories, the money, the time, and the effort? Maybe if we just go to bed we’ll be okay and this feeling will pass.
We can literally wear ourselves out trying to make a very simple decision because if we decide to go and fulfill our craving, we’ll likely regret all those calories later. But if we don’t decide to go and fulfill our craving maybe later on we’ll wonder why we just didn’t do it since we can exercise the next day.
What if we didn’t decide but we chose? We’d still ask the same questions but then we’d either deliberately choose to go get ice cream or we would choose not to. We’d stop considering all the other things like money, time, effort, and calories and we would choose ice cream and be committed to enjoying ice cream. OR, we choose not to go get it and we don’t keep thinking about it. We commit to “not” fulfilling our craving and we have no regrets for that choice either.
Deciding has more to do with agreeing with whatever the results happen to be. Choosing has more to do with investing in the results and closing all other options. We like to tell indecisive people “Just MAKE a decision” which translates, “Just make a decision and whatever happens, happens.” We would do better to tell people “Just choose!” which translates, “Commit to a choice, not to a “whatever”. Then we’ll actually take ownership of our choices instead of letting decisions lead us wherever.
Though decision making and choosing are both about “selecting”, decision-making keeps our options open because we can always change our decision. Choosing infers “shutting the door” , stop considering all the other options and just ” go for it!”
Making a decision for most of us means going in a certain direction until we don’t like it anymore while choosing is all about making a deliberate decision and not looking back. Making a decision is all about “choosing the best option” while choosing is often about going with the best option.
Whoa! I’m running out of time and room here. I’ll make a choice; I’ll take up the BEST part about choosing in the next blog…I mean, after all, Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit, “Choosing is so much better than making a decision” so…what does the Word say about this? Stay tuned!