How to Make Quality Decisions

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Making quality decisions is a cornerstone for living a quality life. Of course, we all know that. But knowing and doing are two different things. I know I shouldn’t have dessert tonight, but … I know I should exercise every day, but … I know I should save that money instead of going out for dinner, but … (Yes, I’m guilty of all three!)

Those are all relatively simple decisions, but they are ones we struggle with every day because we really haven’t made a quality decision to give up sugar, get healthy, or save toward retirement or a new car. Quality decisions require corresponding action. Without follow-through, your ‘decision’ is just wishful thinking.

Studies show that we make at least 70 decisions every day. That’s more than one every fifteen minutes. If you struggle with deciding what to have for breakfast or where to go for dinner (a big issue in our house), how much more are you struggling to make good life choices?

Of course, a lot of those ‘decisions’ operate on auto-pilot. We do today what we did yesterday, order the same food in restaurants (yes, it’s still a decision), or ignore health issues because we don’t want to call the doctor or (heaven forbid!) take pills.

Every decision you make however, from your breakfast menu to retirement planning, your career or where you will live, impacts the rest of your decisions. They stack, one upon another, to create the life you now have … and the life you will have next month, next year, next decade.

Here’s something to think about. Do you like your life right now? Do you usually feel peace and contentment, optimism and a sense of control? If you don’t, it’s because of the decisions you made yesterday, last week, or even months and years ago.

Here’s the good news. You can change your decisions! If you’re reading this, you still have choices. So how do you improve your decision-making skills and follow through? I’m glad you asked.

Get wisdom. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom (Prov. 4:7). There are two levels of wisdom, spirit-guided and human reasoning. Jesus told His disciples to ask and they would receive. James 1:5 says if you lack wisdom, ask God … and it will be given to you. Remember Solomon? When he was about to be made king of Israel, God asked him, “What shall I give you?” Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge. God replied, “Because this was in your heart … wisdom and knowledge are granted unto you. And I will give you riches, and wealth, and honor … (2 Chron. 1:11-12). Wisdom is a wealth builder, the first step in a quality life. Take the time to pray and ask for God’s wisdom and direction.

Seek peace. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts … (Col. 3:15) The Amplified Bible says that peace should “act as umpire continually”. Are you peaceful with the decision you are about to make? Quality decisions are usually not made under pressure. They take time and thought. The Bible tells us to seek peace and pursue it (Ps. 34:14). Peace doesn’t mean the decision or the action required will be easy. You may not even know how to proceed. But, if you’re not peaceful, it’s not God. He can give you a sense of peace even if you don’t have all the answers yet. Until you find a place of peace, the best ‘decision’ is to wait.

For instance, we were looking for a newer vehicle. We had narrowed our choices to two or three. One dealership had a 2016 demo that we were almost ready to buy, but it just didn’t ‘feel’ right. We liked it, but there were a couple of things that made us pause. No peace. We talked about it and waited and talked some more. Then, another one of that make and model turned up in exactly the right color with all the right options and for a better price. God knew what was coming, and peace (along with patience) led us to a blessing.

Fear not. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear … (Ps. 118:6). “Will not” is a choice, a decision. You can allow fear, doubt, dread, trepidation, turmoil and uncertainty run your life … or you can choose to “be strong, fear not” (Is. 35:4). Jesus told Jairus (who had just been told that his daughter died), “Fear not, believe only.” Fear is the enemy of wisdom and peace. It leaches your faith and determination. Fear and its emotional partners are tricks of the devil to keep you chained to your past circumstances. If you are going to make a quality decision and move forward, you will have to fight off those mental attacks.

Be patient. Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:4) Patience has two roles to play in good decision-making. First, don’t move too quickly on important decisions.  A little time of waiting is always wise. Use patience to test your decision. Does it still feel peaceful? Do you have a sense of calmness and wisdom in your choice? You’ve heard that it’s always best to postpone major purchases (or even minor ones!) for at least 24 hours. That is just as true with other decisions. Impulse buying or decision-making can prove to be unwise. Be patient and contemplate your options before moving forward.

The second component of patience comes after the decision. Once you’ve made a choice, there is often a time of testing. The universe-and the devil-want to know if you’re serious. Have you noticed that when you decide to give up sweets, your spouse wants to stop for ice cream, your co-workers bring donuts, and the cookie isle in the grocery store calls your name! Stay strong. Stand your ground. God will work out the details if you will be patient and trust Him.

Consider the future. This one doesn’t really belong in a spirit-based list for quality decisions. After all, Jesus said, “Take no thought for the morrow …” (Matt. 6:34). He was trying to demonstrate to the crowd that God always has a plan and He always takes care of His kids (you and me). However, it’s also important for us to consider the impact of today’s actions (aka decisions). If you spend every penny you make and more, where will you be financially in six months or a year? If you eat everything you see, how healthy will you be? How will that impact your lifestyle in the future?

I used to tell our daughter when she desperately wanted something, “If you spend it here, you won’t have it to spend there.” Think about the impact of the decision you’re contemplating, not just the short-term enjoyment or relief.

God expects you to trust Him with your tomorrow, but He also expects you to make wise decisions today. Every choice has a consequence. Every cause has an effect. The Bible says seedtime and harvest shall not cease (Gen. 8:22). That means whatever you decide today will trigger a harvest. It may take some time and effort, particularly if your decision doesn’t flow with the world’s way of thinking, but you will receive the results of what you sow.

Whatever you want is available to you if you will make decisions consistent with your dreams and goals.

Consider that when you make your choices and you will be more apt to make quality decisions. And quality decisions are the key to a quality life.



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