Making Tough Decisions
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.” ~ Joshua 1:8 New International Version
This scripture comes on the heels of Moses’ death as the people prepare to move towards the Promised Land. What a mix of emotions must have been present – uncertainty, fear, anticipation, anxiety, frustration – it was all there! None of us has had to face such an overwhelming transition as the people of Israel did after wandering homeless 40 years in the wilderness. And to what were they called in that situation? Meditate on God’s Way unceasingly!
Meditation is allowing for holy connection time. It is allowing for boundary time, that is, space between “what is” and “what is yet to come.” It is tapping into our highest relationship, the source of all and ultimately the “knower” of all that is best for us.
When we face major challenges about the future, our tendency is to do the opposite. We often feel more determined than ever to act boldly and quickly. Something needs attention; something needs done; we have to take control. Decisions feel good because we often confuse action with results. In times like this we would do well to remember the greater the challenge, the more discernment required to move away from our egos and self-identities and seek instead, a Guidance that knows far better than us!
There is great power in allowing for this connecting/discernment time. MAX president and CEO David Wine shares this story.
“One of the biggest mistakes I made was as chairman of a national church board. There was a potentially contentious subject requiring action, a major decision to be made. The day’s recess hour was approaching and I pushed the board to action, ensuring that the decision was reached quickly and effectively.
“That evening I was approached by several in attendance expressing a concern that the issue felt controlled and was not properly discussed or given for effective necessary time for discernment. After a restless night I opened the meeting the following day with a suggestion that the action taken the previous day be reopened for discussion and that first, we would take a significant period of time to pray and discern together.
“The decision reached that day was the same as our decision the evening before, but in a totally different atmosphere of trust and encouragement. In short, it was touched by Spirit!”
Wine says he learned a valuable lesson that day. When we have tough decisions about the future or our direction and calling, nothing is more important than heeding the prophet’s words – meditate on it day and night and then you go forward!
Following tough decisions, it is equally important to also take time to notice when we have gotten through a really big challenge – to celebrate that we “stayed the course”, that we acted with as much integrity as we knew how to muster, that we continued to move along and be as faithful to God, ourselves and what life was bringing as we could. Then we again hear the wonderful promise of Joshua that follows:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 New International Version