I remember when I was in high school and couldn’t wait to get out so that I could be treated like an adult, but I soon realized that with adulthood came responsibility. Each of those responsibilities required me to make decisions that I wasn’t sure how to make. Some of the decisions I had to make were:
- Which college should I go to?
- How will I pay for college?
- What type of job should I get?
- Will this job get me closer to my career goals? Wait, what do I want to do as a career?
- Will I be okay leaving my family if I had to go somewhere far away?
As I answered these questions, I thought life would get easier. In some areas it did, but in others it didn’t. Thankfully, I had some great mentors in my life who gave me some questions to use as a guideline to making decisions. I ask myself these questions whenever I have to make any type of decision.
Which decision will impact the Kingdom of God the most? While we can’t fully know exactly how each decision will impact the kingdom of God, we do know that how we use our time can greatly influence the kingdom of God. For example, say three guys wanted to meet with me about discipleship. Instead of meeting with them one-on-one, I would meet with them in a small group so that I could train all of them at the same time and they could learn from one another.
How many people are being affected by the decision? This question helps me prioritize which decisions need to be made first. For example, going to college doesn’t just affect you; It affects your parents, siblings, and friends. It can also affect any ministries you’re involved in. Given how many people this decision may affect, it would be best to figure it out first, rather than if you were deciding to buy a car.
What deadlines do I need to meet or make? The point of this question is to determine how much time you have to make a decision. Sometimes the decisions I need to make doesn’t have a deadline, so I give myself a deadline. The reason for this is that decisions without deadlines are always unnecessary weights in your life. They lead to stress and indecision. A deadline forces you to make a decision, which helps in the long run. If you’re thinking about going to college, for example, you also need to think about the financial aid deadline.
How will this decision benefit me in the long run? The first question is making sure you’re focused on God, the second is people, and this one is about yourself. You want to think about how this decision will get you to where you feel like God wants you to go long term. For example, I encourage students to go do a gap year before going to college so they can get established in their faith and figure out what God has called them to do. This can benefit you greatly because you won’t be wasting your time and money going to several different colleges trying to figure out your calling. A good gap year can help you find focus for life, which is a massive benefit in the long run.
What advice are my close leaders telling me? Lastly, I make sure I’m getting advice from leaders around me. This includes pastors, parents, mentors, and teachers. There is a lot of wisdom in seeking counsel from them. They can ask you questions that you probably haven’t thought of yet. For example, I sought a lot of counsel when I was deciding if I should marry my wife. It was great to hear godly, married men give me sound advice on how to make the decision.