We had all just gotten off work at Jack-in-the-Box (a fast food restaurant). It was early Saturday morning, about 2 a.m. I was about eighteen years old and a freshman in college. It was the early 70s.
I was with three co-workers – two guys and one young woman. We were all about the same age. Someone had the idea that we ought to go to White Rock Lake and drive around. About twenty minutes later, we got to the lake and began the drive. We came to the old White Rock Lake Pump Station (built in 1911). During those years, it was apparently not being used. The door was open.
We walked inside where it was damp and very, very dark.
We walked in various rooms of this building, which seemed to be abandoned. I remember, at one point, being on an upper level on a ledge. Below us appeared to be some kind of pit or lower area. Needless to say, in this dark building this appeared to be very dangerous.
Many years later, I thought about what we did that night and how foolish it was. Here we were, at 3 a.m., walking through a building that we had never been in before. As I recall, we had a single flashlight. Of course, there were not cell phones and no one knew where we were. This was really a poor decision.
Every day, we are faced with decisions. Some of these decisions may be inconsequential. Yet, other decisions can have consequences that are devastating.
The following are 5 suggestions for making better decisions:
1. Be careful about drift. Sometimes we make poor decisions by drifting along with everyone else, not really thinking through what the group is doing. Far too many of us follow someone else’s lead and then later wonder why on earth they ended up doing something so out of character.
2. Consider where this train is going if you get on board. Perhaps you’ve known a family in which the mom, dad, and kids have a history of making poor decisions. You see their lives at some point and realize that the train has left the station and is going down the tracks. Somewhere along the way, there is going to be a crash. It is only a matter of when and where. Think about where you might end up if you pursue a particular course of action.
3. When faced with a decision that you feel even slightly uneasy about, ask yourself what the wisest person you know would do if he/she were to be faced with the same decision. Do you have a feel for what this person might do?
4. Consider who will be impacted by your decision. Sometimes when we are faced with a decision, we can totally focus on what we want to do. Yet, some decisions impact spouses, children, parents, friends, congregations, and many other people.
5. Pray for wisdom. One lady told me years ago, “I’ve got a right to do whatever I want.” Yet, there are many decisions we make in which the issue is not what we have a right to do. Rather, we need to be thinking about wisdom. What is best in this situation? What is the best thing for me to do?
What helps you make good decisions?