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your Yes means No

February 10, 2011

I must confess, I have a hard time with decision making.  I’m that guy doing laps at Blockbuster for 30 minutes picking out a movie.  I’m that guy staring at Netfix online for 30 minutes, searching for the perfect movie.  I will whittle down my choices from 3 to 2 and ultimately my wife will pick one to keep her sanity.

We all have a tough time with decisions, typically they are of greater importance than Goonies vs. The Outsiders.  The difficulty is when the decision has large amounts of pros met with an equal amount of cons.  At that point, no list we create makes us feel any more or less confident toward a decision.

Dr. Irvin Yalom states, “Difficult decisions often have roots that reach into the bedrock of existential concerns and personal responsibility.  For one thing its portended relinquishment.  Every yes involves a no.”

To put it a different way, every yes is an early indication that you will have to surrender something else down the line.  And that is my problem you see, to gain one thing I have to give up another.  But what makes matters worse, I actually  have to give up more than just one thing when I say yes to something else.

Dr. Dan Allender adds, “The rubber meets the road when a potential yes means saying a thousand noes to a legion of legitimate choices. “

There are so many great choices out there, how can one decide?  This post isn’t intended to give everyone a dreaded case of paralysis of analysis.   Rather this post is designed for us to look at our yeses and noes in a different light.  When people ask for our approval, our time, or our money we need to see that deeper, unspoken questions are being asked of us as well.

  • How will I spend my time on this precious day?
  • What are my passions in life that I should pursue above all else?
  • Who means the most to me and have I made enough time for them?

It is key that we know ourselves and our life purpose.  If we never find meaning, the mundane and basics of life will eat up our time and leave us with obligations that have nothing to do with our passions.  Not knowing what we give up and what we truly accept in our decisions can bring about fruitless relationships, mindless activity, and a subscription to People Magazine.  You see, if we don’t like the story we are living then we will start paying attention to other stories that seem more interesting. It is our responsibility to self reflect and God reflect in order to understand our part in the greater story God is telling.  I believe it was Don Miller who wrote, “We are to tell stories rather than simply consume them.”  Our decisions matter because our stories matter.

Lists have their place but its in the identification of our greatest passions where we will find the answers that faithfully move us forward the way God intended.

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