Last week I had to make a tough decision. Well, actually I had to undo a decision I had already made regarding my kids and their summer and what we were (or more importantly, were not) going to do. I had this nagging sense for over a week that I needed to do it, but it took me a fews days to finally make the call.
Why was it so tough? Because what I felt was the right decision was uncomfortable, inconvenient, and going to require way more out of me than I thought I could handle (or wanted to handle). But, I finally made the call (literally) and afterward, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace come over me. I knew without a doubt it was the right decision.
Ever since, I’ve thought more about how I make decisions.
In college I used to make decisions based on what I would look back and regret not doing. After I graduated high school, I moved from the east coast to the west coast (and back again) trying to find God and follow his leading in my life. I had opportunities and took advantage of them, so off I went. I reasoned that I would rather try something and fail than never try and always wonder what could have been. That’s not the kind of life I wanted and that kind of thinking became a motto. And that motto helped me and my husband decide to sell most of our possessions and join a new church plant in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2008 with two small kids in tow, sight unseen. What’s the worst that could happen?, I reasoned, we go back? I’ll take the risk. (Leaving well is vital to living this motto. You should feel like you can go back- or home.)
Looking back on decisions big and small, most of the best decisions I’ve made were the hardest ones to make. Very rarely was a good decision an easy decision. Most often the right decision was the harder of the two. It almost always cost more financially and relationally, and it usually required more time and skills I didn’t think I had. It meant I was being stretched in news ways, in uncomfortable ways.
And now almost twenty years since I started making bigger life decisions, I still find myself wrestling over decision-making. It sure doesn’t get easier, but looking back on all of the times when the hard decision was the right decision, it gives me so much more confidence to not cave to convenience or external pressures.
What decision do you need to make today? Could it be that the right decision is the harder decision?