Do you need to make a decision about something that seems so exciting, but you can’t seem to shake the hesitation in your heart?
My husband, Art, and I have a friend named Wes who has been fascinated with pilots and planes since he was a little boy. For years he dreamed of the life he’s now living as a flight-school instructor.
It’s thrilling. But recently it’s all become a bit more complicated. The owner of the flight school decided to offer Wes the opportunity to buy him out. It’s an amazing opportunity. But a scary one. One that created a bit of hesitation for Wes.
Art and I both have spent lots of time processing this decision with Wes. I’ve helped him with assessing the costs to this endeavor: the cost to him personally, the cost to his young wife, and the cost of everyday pressures people who own their own businesses feel.
As we were talking one day, I shared with him a picture I keep in my mind when making decisions.
Imagine this opportunity as an amazingly attractive but fast-moving river. There is so much that looks extremely appealing about this river, that you’re going to be tempted to jump right in. But once in the river, you have diminished your ability to make decisions.
That river is moving so fast that it will take you where it is going. And if you haven’t carefully determined in advance whether you want to go all the places where the river flows, you’ll be in trouble.
College students declaring their majors should trace the places that career will take them. If you think you want to major in chemistry but hate working in a lab or hospital, trace that river’s path before jumping in.
Dating couples who are thinking about marriage should trace out what the term “settle down” means to each of them. If one is thinking mission field in a third-world country and the other a townhouse in middle America, trace that river’s path before jumping in.
Moms who are thinking about a new business opportunity should trace out all the expenses of getting started, including upfront costs, childcare and inventory. If a mom’s desire is to stay at home with the kids but this business will require her to be gone every night of the week, trace that river’s path before jumping in.
Before jumping into the river, you have the ability to walk up and down the banks of the river with ease.
You have the ability to stick your toes in and consider what this water will be like.
You can talk to other wise people who know things about this river. And sit quietly listening for God’s voice, reading His Word and looking for confirmation on what to do next.
But once you jump in, the current has a way of demanding your full attention. It’s not that you can’t make adjustments once you’re in the river; it’s just a lot harder to go a different direction once you’re in it.
Several verses describing God’s leading, directing and guiding beside the water have been great comfort to me:
• “He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water“ (Isaiah 49:10b, NIV).
• “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:1-3, NKJV).
• “With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel” (Jeremiah 31:9, ESV).
These are comforting to me because a lot is talked about in the Christian world about stepping out in faith — which I believe in wholeheartedly.
I believe God clearly instructs some to jump right in.
But that doesn’t mean God calls everyone to jump right in. Sometimes the greater act of faith is to let God lead us, talk to us and instruct us beside the water.
Dear Lord, I want to really think about this river before jumping in. Reveal anything I might not be seeing right now. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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