Your life is shaped by big decisions. Our choices set up our future – for better or worse!
There’s a massive difference between letting life happen to you and taking ownership of your future through your choices – one creates a life of cowardice and the other creates a life of courage.
In order to experience the future of beauty + awesomeness that God wants for you, you have to be willing to risk. You have to decide to own the big decisions in your life.
When you decide to own it, when you decide you’ll make the hard choices and face the tough decisions of life head on, that’s when you get tripped up on one question – how?
How do I know what the best decision is? I’m willing to risk big to live out a life of faith – but how do I know which risk is right and which is wrong?
I’ve asked myself this question so many times in my life. Should I marry my boyfriend? Should I move to a different city? Should I go to this college. Should I take this job or move in with these roommates or buy this car… the list goes on and on!
Here’s what I’ve learned in 29 years of making big, life-altering, tough, and wonderful decisions:
First things first, pray and seek wise counsel. Prayer and reading scripture shows you what God considers the best path for you (not a life focused on money, not a boyfriend who doesn’t love Jesus, a life where you desperately need Him). A lot of foolish choices can be avoided simply by comparing them to scripture. Wise counsel is one or two people in your life whose lives you admire and whose opinion you trust. (If you ask more than two people what to do, be careful that you’re not just looking for someone to give you an easy out!)
What we’re dealing with are the vague questions – the ‘God doesn’t say its wrong, but I don’t know if it’s right!’ questions. So that brings us to the second most important thing:
Let go of trying to make the ‘right’ decision.
God’s plan for your life isn’t a treasure map – it’s more of a choose your own adventure book! He just wants the best and most spiritually healthy life for you – you get to decide what that is! Don’t be afraid you’re living one decision away from ruining your future – that’s not how our loving God works.
If it doesn’t go against His will – and that’s anything He clearly states against in the scriptures – then it’s up to you. HOW SCARY AND AWESOME!
Here are three questions I ask myself when I make a big decision that I believe can also help you:
1. Be honest with yourself: is this my comfort or my calling?
Sometimes we try to extend something in our life that was meant for a season. When I was about to finish college at UNC Chapel Hill, I knew I’d always planned to move and work in Los Angeles. But Los Angeles is massive and expensive and scary and I didn’t know a soul there. I had a job in Chapel Hill and I loved the little town around my school. I was very tempted just to…stay. Stay in my comfortable job. Stay in my pretty town. But I knew I loved Chapel Hill because I loved being a student and I loved my memories there. If I stayed to avoid something hard, I would have been extending a season in my life that was only meant for four years. Four amazing years, let me tell you, but only four years. To stay wouldn’t have been bad, but it wouldn’t have been best, either. I had to go where God was calling and leave where I was comfortable.
2. Where will I have the most impact and where will I be the most impacted?
What will challenge you the most? Where can you do the most good or bring the most life?
The common misconception with this one is that you would choose a path that promises you suffering in hopes you’ll be refined. Don’t do that! God never wants us to suffer for the sake of suffering.
I chose to marry my husband because he makes me incredibly happy – and he is also incredibly challenging! He doesn’t let me settle. He knows my capacity and constantly helps me live up to and exceed what I think I can accomplish. And I know that I do the same for him.
Choosing who you’re going to marry is legitimately terrifying – it’s forever! – but when you’ve chosen well leading up to that big decision – who to date, how to date, and everything in between – it’s still scary, but it’s not difficult. I couldn’t love another man like I love my husband, and no other man could love me like he does!
3. Am I motivated by fear?
Fear is the killer of all good intentions. Fear ruins plans and eats away at your life with regret, bitterness, and anxiety.
Pray to God for peace that surpasses all understanding – let nothing you decide be ruled by fear.
Here are some common fears to look out for that can lead you away from the best decision for your future:
‘I’m afraid if I move I won’t have any friends.’
‘I’m afraid if I break up with him no one else will like me.’
‘I’m afraid if I take this job I won’t be good at it and I’ll fail.’
‘I’m afraid if I get married I’ll lose my independence.’
‘I’m afraid if I choose the wrong college I’ll regret not going to another school.’
‘I’m afraid that if I don’t go to college people will think I’m strange or not intelligent.’
The ‘I’m afraid’s’ could go on forever! Examine your heart, your attitude, and your spirit – what choice feels like it would require God to show up and do great miracles in your life? What choice feels dangerously dependent on Him? Head in that direction! God calls us to be secure in Him, not safe!
Brooke Figueroa is a pastor at Mosaic, a church in Los Angeles, CA. She loves drinking espresso with her husband, leading worship with Mosaic MSC, and reading an absurd amount of books. She’d love to meet you on Instagram at @brookeofigueroa