Staring a life changing decision in the face can be daunting. Weariness can take root in the monotony of a repetitious grind in life, and ruminating dreams can weave questions of whether or not to step out into something new and different. Even when life glides by as smoothly as well oiled machine, out of the blue, new opportunities can present themselves. In every stage of life, fork-in-the-road decisions pop up—decisions that may require you to turn your life upside down. Decision that you have a limited time to make. Decisions that affect where you live, what your standard living will be, and how your schedule and relationships will unfold.
Regardless of the situation, everyone one of us has faced or will face major life decisions and will likely hit a wall wondering, “What should I do?” Often, these decisions require sacrifice, risk, a mountain of change, and a season of adjustment with no clear end in sight. There is always an element of uncertainty regarding how it could impact your schedule, family, and community relationships, not only in the immediate future, but also decades down the road.
Making these decisions can be taxing, especially when competing priorities and desires pull us in different directions. There are countless factors to consider when making these decisions. So here are 2 questions to consider as you work through your decision-making process.
Are you idealizing a particular future in this decision? If so, how?
Often, we can let our imaginations run away with ideas of what we hope our life will look like in a particular situation. We imagine that this one decision is the last puzzle piece to put into place to complete our picture-perfect scenario of what we want our life to be (think: “If I could just get this dream job, everything will fall into place!). But that ideal is an illusion. Even with all the right pieces in all the right places, there will still be stressors and conflicts and hard seasons and unexpected downsides. So ask yourself, “Where might I be idealizing the outcome of this decision?” Give due attention to all possible positives and negatives on both sides of the equation so that you can make your decision from a balanced perspective.
How much is fear influencing your decision?
Fear is a nasty manipulator when it comes to making life decisions. It can cause us to rush into poor decisions out of fear that this may be “the break” we have been waiting for—and if we miss it, it will never come again. Other times, fear can cause us to decline opportunities because we don’t feel we can rise to the occasion. So we hide in the shadows because it is easier than opening ourselves up to failure, criticism, and rejection. Don’t stay captive to fear’s agenda. Ask yourself, “What fears are driving my decision or holding me back?” There may be multiple little fears building on one another or one huge fear that has you sunk. Either way, push yourself to process through the fear until you are able to make a decision from a place of secure confidence.
Having to make hard life decisions never goes away, but taking time to reflect on these questions can give you extra insight into yourself and the situation, helping you discern which decision is best for yourself.