Decisions, decisions

Sometimes making a decision can feel overwhelming or even agonizing. But as a woman found when she needed to choose where to live and work next, a willingness to be led by God, our caring divine Parent, brings clarity and peace.

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Making decisions can be really difficult sometimes. I used to agonize over making decisions, from small ones (what to wear to work or what to eat for dinner) to bigger life choices, such as where to live or what jobs to apply for. And I would invariably second-guess every decision I made.

But I’ve found there’s an approach to decision-making that also brings peace of mind. It’s a spiritual perspective, one that opens our hearts to guidance from God.

The book of Joshua in the Bible states, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (24:15). Each of us can make that same choice. That’s not to say we all need to have religious careers. Rather, we can start and end our day with listening to God, and letting God, who is divine Love, inspire what we do. And we can do this during the day, too!

Christ Jesus once prayed, “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). That was shortly before he was taken to be crucified. Jesus’ empowering example of literally placing his entire life in God’s hands demonstrated such humility and trust in God, whom he taught is our divine Father.

Each of us, too, can strive to live a life that yields to God, good. This is not about blind faith, but an understanding of God as Love and of all of us as God’s beloved children – watched over and protected by our divine Parent. There is a verse in the “Christian Science Hymnal” I have found helpful at many critical junctures in my life:

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
(Frances R. Havergal, No. 324, adapt. © CSBD)

When we turn to God with a receptive and humble heart, then we are prepared to act on the divine wisdom that is present to guide us. There is a little poem I learned in the Christian Science Sunday school as a child; I still start each morning with it today: “Father, what shall I do today? / Tell me. / And I will obey” (Marvin J. Charwat, “Simplicity of plan,” Christian Science Sentinel, Jan. 10, 1953).

I find this so helpful in shaping my motives for the decisions I need to make. We can ask ourselves, How can I best serve God through expressing spiritual qualities such as unselfishness and joy?

At one point, I packed up my belongings and lived on the road for half a year – during which time I had many opportunities to listen for God’s guidance and experience God’s care, protection, and provision along the way. Then, when I was back visiting friends and family in the town which I had left, I found myself praying about next steps.

I figured I would only stay for a month and then head off somewhere else again. In all honesty, I had no interest in staying in that town.

However, a willingness to listen for and obey God’s will involves self-sacrifice, and in this case I recognized that I had to let go of a stubborn willfulness that was keeping me from being fully receptive to inspiration from God. As I allowed my thought to be more open to divine direction, I felt impelled to stay and find an apartment.

The great thing is, when something is truly God-inspired, we can trust that it is the right thing at the right time. I found when I was still and listened to where divine Love was leading, reasons for staying came to me that fit right in with the things I’m most excited about in life and my work. As I prayed for divine direction about how I could better serve God and my community, every step of that transition – from finding an apartment, to moving in, to job opportunities to help young people, something very important to me – unfolded in the fastest and most harmonious way imaginable.

Though it wasn’t at all the decision I’d expected to make, staying felt completely natural. I found that I didn’t have to agonize over each decision. When we listen with an open heart and a willingness to walk in whatever direction divine Love points us, the way forward opens up more naturally and harmoniously and is filled with blessings for ourselves and others.

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