A Christian Science perspective.
“You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind.” A pithy and humorous observation. But vacillating between two choices – especially those involving right and wrong – is common. And it’s no laughing matter.
Indecisiveness often paralyzes us. It can sap our productivity and undermine our confidence. So what does it take to overcome chronic, or occasional, indecision? I’ve found that persistent prayer overcomes all forms of hesitation, instability, and confusion. It’s actually natural for each of us to think and act in Godlike ways, to express a spiritual sense of authority any time there’s a decision to be made.
According to the scriptural record, man – meaning both men and women – is God’s crowning creation, made in His image (see Genesis 1). As the image of God, we are inseparable from Him. And because He is the source of all good and only good, we can trust Him with our questions about what to do. Understanding this anchors our thought, replacing uncertainty with spiritual resolve.
This resolve is not a “just do it!” act of will. Willpower has its source in the same set of assumptions that can lead to wavering or hesitancy – the belief that we are mortal beings who can see only parts of the picture. That we are mistake-prone or that we lack a solid foundation for decisionmaking. When we think along those lines, leaving God out of the equation, even the best intentions can lead to poor choices or broken resolutions.
Truly decisive thinking subordinates human willfulness to a humble admission that God can and does guide us. It’s a joyous expectation that we will know how to hear and follow His direction. The prophet Isaiah promises, “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (30:21).
Strong examples of persistent prayer to God for guidance abound in the Bible. Nehemiah relied firmly on God to overcome his enemies’ repeated attempts to derail his work. Jacob turned around his history of willfulness and deceit, in a single night of focused spiritual reasoning about his relation to God.
Perhaps most notably, Jesus expressed an unfaltering commitment to doing God’s will, even during the agonizing hours before his arrest and crucifixion. Throughout his career, his spiritually decisive thinking led to consistent healing – for example, in raising Lazarus from the dead, in transforming the life of a woman accused of breaking the law, in restoring to life a child who had died.
While most of us won’t need to face such dramatic situations, the same spiritual concepts that Jesus taught, and that Mary Baker Eddy articulated in her discovery of Christian Science, show us how to act with assurance in every circumstance. When we trust God’s totally good, entirely dependable nature for direction in making decisions, confusion can’t stop us in our tracks. Not a single doubt can erode the substantiality of spiritual reality or undermine our ability to discern it.
Whenever decisiveness is called for, I look to these words in the book of James: “Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (1:16, 17). Commenting on that statement, Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “God is not the shifting vane on the spire, but the corner-stone of living rock, firmer than everlasting hills” (“Unity of Good,” p. 14).
With God as our “corner-stone of living rock,” we can find a balance between thought and action. And moments of decision will become moments of spiritual authority.