Today, via text, a friend of mine asked me for help with a tough decision. It was the kind of decision that required a bunch of background, or as she put it a 'spider web of details.' After attempting to put her words down to explain everything she finally asked, what do you do when you have to make a hard decision? Here are the words I tapped out in response.
First, what is it that I want to do? What is the choice I am being presented with? Is it moral, legal, ethical? Is it a benefit to me or a hindrance - long term - not just short term. Can I define it? Can I answer what it is in just a few words? Do I have the skills to really do it? To put it another way, I want to know what I am considering for myself. What am I getting in to?
Second, I ask myself, what if? What happens if I do this? What happens if I don't? Is anyone hurt or adversely affected in some way? What damage does this do to relationships that I cherish? What kinds of example am I giving or setting to others?
Third, motives. Why am I considering this? Is it all about me? Is it a momentary stroke of the ego. Am I chasing something that is unattainable? Am I attempting to fill a hole in my life with it? Am I trying to 'show off' 'show out' or 'get back' at someone by doing it?
Fourth, I ask if so then what? If I take this path, what would my next steps be? Do I feel good about those steps? Are they well defined? Does taking the first step lead to clarity or simply more questions? Do I have doubts about what to do next? If I don't take this path, how does that look?
Finally, I think and pray through it. All the things I have been talking to myself about, I take a walk and talk with God about it - out loud just like he was walking with me - because he is. There is nothing magical about it per say, sometimes just talking outloud I discover something I hadn't thought of.
What I told her and have written here is nothing profound or even original, but it helped, perhaps it will help you as well.