Have you ever had a difficult decision to make? A choice so complex it makes you toss and turn at night, consumes your mind in your free time and just makes you extremely anxious because you do not know the best way to handle it. We all at some point have experienced a monumental choice that alters the way we live our life. These choices include who we marry, deciding to have children, or where to go to college. Whether we realize it, our lives are shaped by the decisions we make every day. However, most choices we make are insignificant and we will never remember them. For example, you probably don’t debate which foot to put your first shoe on first and even if you do this choice does not have a long-lasting impact on the rest of your life. So, we have major decisions to make, but we have also been designed by God to make involuntary decisions. The challenge I am proposing is, simply, how you can make the best decision possible.
Psychologist Dave DiSalvo explains how the human brain can process over eleven million pieces of information in a single second. This is the “unconscious processing model” and this information is essential to keeping us alive because this process explains how our brains tell our bodies to breathe and keep our hearts beating. These are decisions we never realize and rarely decide. The other model DiSalvo explains is the “conscious processing system” which controls the decisions humans know they are making. The conscious model can only process forty pieces of information a second. That is 275,000 times less! This information lets us know that we are capable of making choices without us noticing, but also the choices we make take time.
When making big decisions it is easy for us as Christians to use the famous line by Jesus “not my will, but yours” (Luke 22:42). We want to wait for God to direct us where we need to be or what choice we need to make. Paul says this same phrase on his first trip to Ephesus in Acts 18 where he tells the Jews “If it is God’s will…” when asked if he would stay longer. Paul uses this phrase numerous times, but also, Peter and James do as well in their letters. When we say “if it is God’s will” we are doing two things: 1. Proclaiming God is in control and knows what is next; and 2. We, as humans, don’t know. When Paul uses the word “if” it implies he is a mere human and does not know what to do next. So, we believe God is in control and will give us supernatural guidance to help our decisions, but what do we do with the word “if”?
In the same way God designed us to have an internal involuntary processing system that allows us to live without us recognizing it, we can make choices based on wisdom and instructions rather than relying on divine guidance. Paul makes this clear in his letters explaining how important it is to follow his teachings and not seeking their divine direction. The same can be said about our decision making today! While we are not negating the influence of God in our lives, we are fully embracing it by walking in tandem with Christ. When we make Christ our cornerstone and give full trust to him, our decisions are in unison with Christ because we are fully embracing Christ. So, if we wish to make the right choice, we need to rely on the instructions given to us in Scripture, our wisdom we have learned through personal experience and advice, and finally be in unity with Jesus. You are capable of making the right choice, but it all begins with where your foundation is.