Y’all, it’s already November. The time is seriously flying, and I can only live in denial for so long before I eventually have to come to terms with the fact that I am indeed a senior, and I need to figure out my next step in life. Senior year has helped me to see just how little trust I have in the Lord when it comes to decision-making — and I don’t mean just in the career field. I feel like it’s almost every day now that I have to do a double-take at the thoughts and actions I’ve had when it comes to my willingness to seek God in the unknown, because everything about myself these past few weeks has screamed that I am living for this world and not the kingdom to come.
Fortunately for me, no one can ever pluck us from God’s hand, and so with every worldly-minded decision I’ve made these past few weeks has come a heaviness of heart — not in the form of guilt, but rather dissatisfaction. By the grace of God, He has shown me a glimpse of what a life following Him looks like; because of that, anything less just feels like something is missing. As I’ve struggled with these feelings of discontentment and confusion, I’ve just been pulling away more and more out of frustration. Why is God not presenting easier decisions? Why can’t He just place a stronger feeling in my heart for one option over the other? Why does no answer seem clear? I can’t provide any kind of insight from the position of the light at the end of the tunnel, because quite honestly I haven’t found it yet. But I think that we’re all faced with difficult decisions in our lives, and during those times we need to hear someone say what it looks like in the moment and what we’re learning now without the mantra of “it will get better for you because it got better for me.” So, here’s my best attempt at doing just that:
I sat at the dining room table with two of my best friends the other night and poured my heart out about the stress of having to make a decision about situations where nothing seems wrong and nothing seems right. I cried as I debated what was fair, what would reap the greatest good for the greatest number of people, and no amount of tears made the situation feel any better. One of my friends finally asked me what I felt like God was calling me to do in this situation, and as I sat there and thought about it for a minute, an overwhelming amount of shame came over me when I realized that I couldn’t even see God in the midst of this dilemma. It’s not because He wasn’t there, it’s just that I couldn’t see any of it clearly. My friends told me that if I had come to a point where I couldn’t see God, then I was far too distracted by my options and I needed to table them all and run to Him.
So I pushed everything away, and still didn’t feel any sense of clarity or contentment. All I felt was disappointment that I couldn’t be strong enough to make a decision.
Later that night, I called my sister (who I’m lucky enough to have on campus with me now) and asked her if we could meet up and talk. As I sat in my car and threw a pity party for myself as my 18-year-old sister quietly listened, I finally broke into tears as I talked about how I just didn’t know what God was calling me to do — she used that one moment of silence to say the most insightful thing I’ve heard in response to the difficulty of making decisions.
“Jordan, maybe God’s presenting you with a difficult decision because He wants you to think about what you really want.”
It made perfect sense in the moment, but as I continued to think about what she had said, it all became even clearer. Because before any difficult decision comes this very subtle moment in time where we decide what we want based on what is already in front of us — and the greatest challenge comes when we’ve lived a life attached to one dream and suddenly, another one comes in that makes us question what we’ve actually wanted all this time. And then what do you do? Do you trust what you’ve always “wanted,” or do you open your heart to new possibilities? There’s no option for “both” in that situation; there’s no way to know if you’re going to regret going one way later down the road, and things like that paralyze people with fear. I’ve always believed that in situations like this, God would swoop in and put a flashing sign on the decision He wanted me to make — so as I’ve muddled through these past few weeks, I’ve been incredibly frustrated that my heart can be so easily split between two options.
It goes even further than that, though. As I’ve continued to think about this, I’ve realized that I don’t want to decide between two equally good options because no matter what I choose, it has to be chosen at a price. I either give up the long-held notion of what I’ve always wanted, or I give up the opportunity to open my heart to something new. There’s no option in this situation for me to choose something that just works out without consequence or doesn’t potentially cause regret for choosing the “wrong” thing. Whatever decision I make, it will be made at a price — but the good thing about that is that it places more value on what I choose. It tells me that I truly choose it, rather than just accept it.
The bigger deal is that we were bought at a price — the Lord loved us so much and He placed so much value on His beloved children that He knew in order to choose us, we would have to be bought at a price. So He sent His Son to die for us, to give us life in Him, to rescue us from ourselves. My seemingly “difficult” decision can’t hold a candle to the power of what God has already done for us. Sure, I’m choosing something at a price — but the biggest decision ever made at a price has already happened and covers every wrong decision and every regret I’ll ever encounter.
And because the Lord is always more concerned with the journey rather than the destination, I’m not even convinced that He has a “right” decision set before me. Maybe He’s not putting a flashing sign over one option because it honestly doesn’t matter which one I choose; any decision that I make in true faith to Him will be blessed in whatever way His “blessing” means for that context. I’m not saying it will end up being my version of perfect, but it will most certainly be used to bring me closer to Him, and that’s never something that will result in regret. The Lord isn’t limited by our decisions and He never abandons us, no matter how many “wrong” decisions we may make. He makes all things work together for our good, and that’s what we have to remember in the midst of situations that can harden our hearts if we don’t throw everything off and run back to Him.
All I really know to say at this point is praise God that He is stronger than even our worst of sins, because this process has shown me just how messed up my heart really is. So whatever decision I make, and whatever decision you make — God is still good, and He will carry us through.