I’ve always had a problem with decision making. When I was young, having to choose would sometimes immobilize me and throw me for a loop. Sometimes it was little things…which of the 31 flavors of ice cream should I choose at Baskin Robbins? Which TV show should I watch tonight? Should I go see a movie with my friend or stay home and get my homework done? As I got older it became more serious…Should I go on a date with a certain boy even though I don’t really like him “that way”? What college should I go to? What flavor Blizzard should I get at Dairy Queen?
You can laugh at me if you want to, but I’m guessing there are others out there with the same frustrating personality trait (or should I call it a “character flaw”? I can’t decide).
This problem even threatened my relationship with Gary while we were dating. We broke up at least three times because I couldn’t decide if I was supposed to get married or go into full time mission work. I really loved Gary (he wasn’t the boy I was worried about dating up in the first paragraph) but I was very paranoid about missing God’s “perfect” will for my life. When I was in high school I thought God wanted me to be a missionary, so even when He led me to Gary and seemed to be showing me that marriage was in my future I really doubted my decision making ability and just about drove myself crazy (not to mention poor Gary who had to endure my indecisiveness). Finally I felt peace about getting married and we set a date. We’ve been married for fifteen years now (and yet there are days when I wonder if I should have gone into full time missions).
This summer I went back and forth, back and forth, trying to decide whether to homeschool the boys or send them to public school. The benefits of each were swirling around in my head along with the negative things about each choice. I became really confused, wondering how I could figure out what God wanted us to do, not just what my head said to do. I started to wonder if it would be better to send all of the kids to school so I had more time for “ministry” during the school day. Whenever I really stopped to pray about it, though, I felt sure that God wanted us to keep homeschooling. Finally, the decision was made and we are homeschooling again (and yet there are times when I wonder if they should be in public school).
My faith has had some ups and downs, too. When I was in junior high my faith was very strong and I wanted to share it with everyone so they could have the same joy I had. As I got older I went through some times of doubt, but I kept running back to God before I got too far off track. Eventually I came to the point where I could unwaveringly say that Jesus is Lord of my life and I would always trust and obey Him (and yet there are days when I wonder if my faith is strong enough, and I worry about whether God can really love me in spite of my fickle faith).
Can you see how this “waffling” tendency of mine could affect my life, my parenting, my faith? I sometimes worry about how my kids will turn out, seeing such a bad example of consistency. Sometimes I restrict their TV time to 1 hour a day, and some days I let them watch as much as they want. Sometimes I discipline them for fighting with their brother or sister, and other times I ignore their fighting. Sometimes I don’t let them eat too much candy and pop, and other days I let them eat whatever and whenever they want.
So far my kids seem to be turning out fine, despite my fumbling attempts to be a good example for them. I hope I’m teaching them that even though their mom cannot always be consistent, God can. I will keep clinging to Him, even when my feeble faith wants to let go and forget about God’s love for me. I won’t give up trying to be more consistent, but I won’t beat myself up when I fail. I’ll admit my weakness, confess any sin I’ve committed, and start again. As I write this tonight, my resolve is strong. I wonder if it’s worth sending this article out into cyberspace. Surely my indecision is behind me, isn’t it?
As I look through the Psalms, I see many verses full of anger, confusion, bitterness, and hopelessness. I also see that usually by the time the Psalm ends, the writer has turned his thoughts around and declares his trust in God again. I want to end this article with a “psalm” to the Lord:
A prayer of an indecisive woman. When she is confused and doesn’t know which way to turn.
1Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not leave me here with this decision left to make. 2My brain makes lists of pros and cons, and still I cannot choose. Why did you make me this way – so prone to inconsistency? 3Yet I will choose to trust and obey You, Lord. You are always faithful, even when I am faithless. I know You will help me to choose wisely today. Thank you, Lord! Amen.
© Robyn Mulder 2005, therobynsnest.org