Decision fatigue is a real thing. The trusty Wikipedia defines decision fatigue as, “the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual, after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making. For instance, judges in court have been shown to make less favorable decisions later in the day than early in the day. Decision fatigue may also lead to consumers making poor choices with their purchases.” (I knew there was a scientific reason for my occasional poor consumer choices).
Every day people have to make decisions. Usually I can take this in stride, but sometimes I develop a paralyzing fear that I will make a mistake with enormous negative consequences. These moments of analysis paralysis often happen after an unexpected busy season or unforeseen need to make a quick decision. The leisure time to think it through and pray about it is not available. The lack of confidence and self-doubt can be debilitating.
The older I get, the more I see the importance of good decision making and the consequences of both good decisions and poor decisions. Since I truly love to plan and am not a quick-on-my-feet decider, I have found that implementing the following steps helps me to be a little more prepared for these decision making moments:
Scripture memorization is the highest priority in preparing me for unexpected times of decision points. 1 Peter 3:15 encourages us to, “…set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.” Memorization of scripture regarding key principles for Christ’s disciples is a critical path to godly decision making. Here are some of my favorites:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).
The second priority in my attempt to prepare for the need to make a timely decision is to remember that it is OK to ask for time. Do not let yourself be pressured into a hasty decision if it is at all possible to say, “I don’t know, let me think and pray about that.”
Another advance preparation for in-the-moment decision making is to pray for God to speak regarding this choice to be made. It takes some time to learn how to hear His voice and to have the sensitivity to listen to it even though He is speaking continually as we abide in Him.
Most important of all is to know that I am a child of God and may make mistakes but His grace is ready and available to all who call on His name. He covers his children with his love and protection. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). When God is for us, there is no need to be paralyzed with fear. We can go forth and be bold and courageous as we seek God in our decision making.