Many times in my life have I asked this question. You, too? When decisions on my part have not had the desired result, I’ve often questioned why I chose the path I did! Some of these decisions weren’t necessarily life altering choices, such as:
Signing on as a sponsor for girls church camp. Thirty-two girls ages 6-12. One cabin. Four adults. Five days. (Not a bad decision, but definitely provoking the question by day four…)
Signing up for vacation bible school. The week immediately following church camp. (Bad decision.)
Taking a managers position for a second time at work. Hated it the first time. Hated it even more the second time. (DUH!)
You get the picture. These are times I’ve examined my choice, determined to either do it again (better) or not at all. And let it go.
I only wish my poor choices had been limited to those so easily resolved, so easily let go. I suppose everyone has made at least one bad decision that led them through sleepless nights, multitudes of tears, the lingering sting of failure….decisions that altered their lives forever….
Choosing to be in a relationship that was destined to fail…
Being the reason a relationship failed…
Falling again into the “sin that so easily besets”….
Selfishly pursuing personal desires that sacrificed precious time with children that can never be regained…
You could probably fill in the blank with the past choice that torments you _________________________________________________
Living with minds full of regret is draining. It leads us to become identified with our mistakes as who we are. It strips us of our confidence to make even the smallest decisions. It buries us beneath the crushing weight of condemnation, especially if we are Christians – we should have known better!
Why did we make those choices?
To understand the depths of the motivation, we must take the time to prayerfully examine ourselves. If you are one who has tormented yourself over a choice, you’ve probably already spent countless hours in self-examination. The key word is prayerful. It is impossible for us to truly see the depths of our hearts without God. And because He’s good, even when the ugliness of our motives are brought to light, He is merciful and gracious and has the power to save us from ourselves!!
Proverbs 23:7 says “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Just taking that verse without prayerful insight would imply that because I THOUGHT I was superwoman – able to leap over the tall building of church camp and strong enough to withstand the locomotive of bible school – I could BE superwoman!! But prayerful insight (hindsight!) revealed that I was proud and arrogant in making decisions without asking God what He wanted me to do, and reminded me that I can do nothing (of eternal value) without Him. Prayerful consideration of the pattern of wrong relationships revealed a desperate fear that I was unlovable. No one could satisfy that need in me but God, but I consistently sought out other people to fill that void. What did they show me? I wasn’t worthy of their love – just as I thought in my heart.
The problem with our decision-making abilities lies in what we are thinking about, consistently meditating on. If the thoughts in our heads (which take root in the heart) are those of failure and defeat, we have set the course for our lives to be full of failure and defeat. If the thoughts still plaguing us are of our weakness in resisting temptation, it becomes even harder to do so. We must “set our minds and keep them set on the things that are above, the higher things…” Colossians 3:2
None would argue that this is true when we look at children. Any child that consistently voices words of low self-esteem, we quickly build up with encouraging words of how very valuable they are. We see the damage done when a child is repeatedly abused, even if only with words – that child eventually believes it, no matter how untrue the statements may be. It breaks our hearts.
God’s heart is broken when His children do not see and hear His words about them. What does He say about us? We are loved, saints, blameless, forgiven, saved, redeemed, heirs, chosen, holy, alive…and that’s just a few of His words about us!! This is what we are supposed to be thinking about!! We have been so focused on our sin problems (the things below, our old nature) that we’ve taken our eyes off the higher things – HE ALREADY PAID FOR EVERYTHING WE WILL EVER DO WRONG!! It’s called GRACE. Grace is not permission to sin because we’ve been forgiven already. Grace trains us to turn away from sin!! Titus 2:11-12
The more I meditate on how God sees me, the more I become like Him. The more I learn about grace, the less I want to sin or displease my Father. The more I give Him my thoughts and plans, the more able I am to make good decisions because I am thinking like Him:
“Roll your works upon the Lord – commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable with His will – so shall your plans be established and succeed.” Proverbs 16:4
So, what are you thinking??