By: Gail Armatys, HeartSong Life Coach
It’s a new year and most of us are reminded of New Year’s resolutions – which indicate change. Change in diet, finances, attitude, time-spent, you know…the usual things that go along with the idea of resolutions.
I think most of us have a love-hate relationship with change. We hate the pain and suffering (loss?) that we think potentially come with it. An example might be changing our diet: fewer carbs, more celery. Or less online shopping and more deposits to savings. A sacrifice of sorts calling on our self-control. Why do we do it? Change, I mean. Because we look forward to an anticipated outcome – healthier and wealthier – based on the above example. From our perspective, the change will make life better. Probably true. But here’s the deal. In order for any change to take place we must actually make the decision to change first.
Unfortunately and often, making a decision (big or small) can be more difficult than the actual implementation and follow-through. But a word of caution here: keeping the status quo because we are afraid to choose does not make things better. Why not? Because fear of making a wrong choice, loss of the old way, or doing a new thing keeps us stuck when there may be something better waiting.
That is, decide.
If we are to be people that ‘go’ and ‘do’ and ‘be’ and ‘share’, I wonder if what God isn’t calling us to all the time isn’t a sold-out, ongoing demonstration of deciding. Choosing between this and that, right and wrong, good and evil, here or there, more or less, now or later, yes or no, the same or different. Whew! Exhausting!
Sometimes the decision is easy. But sometimes the line between one choice and the other is so fine it feels like an eye exam…this way or that way? Better, worse or about the same?
Still, in most cases, making the decision can actually improve our focus because our brain is no longer bouncing around trying to pull all the pieces together.
How Many Decisions Do You Make Each Day?
Research tells us adults make somewhere around 5,000 decisions each day…and they begin early. At the first sound of our morning alarm, we begin the process of deciding. “Do I hit the snooze button or do I get up? What do I eat for breakfast? What do I wear? Should I take a coat or not? Do I go to class or not? Do I have coffee here or buy it later? Why doesn’t my husband ever squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom – should I say something to him…again? Do I smile at that guy that just cut me off in traffic or do something else, uh-hum?”
Such decisions, hundreds of them, are made in the first few hours of the day. And there are many larger decisions to come. Big dollar, high stakes, huge life decisions that must still get made after the morning blur. What school, what job, what friends, how fast, what attitude, what investment, what doctor, what activity, which words…what and which and how do we decide?
God Sets Our Example For Decision-Making
I’m going to go biblical on you now, so hold on…this is really interesting…and so cool!
In the New Testament, God makes what I think we will agree is a big decision. Christ is to die for our sins. Jesus decides to willingly go to the cross. From the disciple’s point of view and perhaps that of onlookers, this is not a good choice. This perfect and innocent man chooses to die for the sins we have chosen to commit, then and now. Initially, the wisdom of the whole thing is lost on us. Yet, ultimately, it’s the best choice anyone (thank you, God) EVER made. As in most decisions, this did not just affect the decision-maker. In this case, the entire human race is touched. God loved us so much he considered us first, before himself, when making the biggest decision of all.
God loved us so much he considered us first, before himself,
when making the biggest decision of all.
In the Old Testament, God chooses leaders. Two that come to mind are Abraham and Moses. He decides where to direct them, what they will eat, what they will say, what they will offer, and how they will worship. All decisions that draw our attention to God’s patience with humanity, his unique purposes for his people, his desire to reveal his power through weakness, his provision for food and safety, and his call for obedience, justice, mercy, and humility. Sometimes as we read scripture, it appears his choices for the Israelites were harsh – but further scrutiny uncovers an ongoing love for his people. A love that was displayed in a tangible and significant way – on the ‘breastplate of decision.’
The Breastplate of Decision
The book of Exodus tells us this breastplate was ‘made by a skilled craftsman…of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen.’ Four rows of precious stones were mounted on it in gold filigree settings. There were twelve precious stones, one for each of the names of the tribes of Israel. This breastplate was treasured and a thing of beauty.
The breastplate of decision was to be worn by the high priest, Moses’ brother, Aaron. Whenever Aaron entered the Holy Place of worship, he was to wear this breastplate over his heart in remembrance to the Lord.
Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites
over his heart before the Lord.
For Aaron, his first remembrance and consideration in making decisions for the Israelites was God. For God, his first consideration was his people. This breastplate, with the names of the twelve tribes – his precious people – written on it, symbolized his love for them.
In New Testament terms, this breastplate, now carried on the heart of Christ, our high priest, with your name – his precious child – written on it, symbolizes his love for you.
I told you it was going to be cool. 😉
What Is Your Breastplate of Decision?
When you make everyday decisions do you do so out of habit and with little thought? When you make bigger more life-affecting choices do you take a little more time and maybe even write out a list of pro’s and con’s or talk it out with others? These are common approaches to decision making. More frequently than not, our decisions are made without thought of God and his purpose for our lives.
Recently, Nissan motors started a promotion asking drivers to wear a red thumb band to remind them not to text and drive. What if we adopt that idea here?
What if each day you wore your breastplate of decision – a band around your finger or wrist, a ring, a pin? Something easily seen to remind you that your first consideration when making a decision should be the Lord and his unique purpose for your life.
He chose to give up his Son for you. Your name covers his heart. In fact, his first consideration has always been you.
In Christ’s honor and in love, won’t you remember him and his purposes first – and then choose?
Find something to wear or carry with you as a visible reminder to think of the Lord first – before making decisions.
Consider what God values. Then, what you value. The same things? Different? Need to make a change?
In light of your answer, how will your decision affect those things you value most? Good? Not so good? Will your decision build up or compromise your values?
How will my decision line up with my God-given gifts and talents, current responsibilities, available time, desires for the future?
Consider God’s unique purpose for your life. Do you know what it is? If so, how will your choice line up with your purpose? If not, a Life Coach may be in your future.
Pray and ask for God’s wisdom before deciding. Are you at peace? If not, wait. If so, step forward boldly… and always, always think about the Lord first…and wear your breastplate along your way.
Thank you, Father, for your love, sacrifice, and the freedom to choose. Help me to honor you by remembering you and your love for me first – that I may make decisions with the wisdom of Christ in the things I say, write, believe, and do.
In Jesus’ holy and precious name. Amen.
Listen to Your HeartSong Here: When I Think About the Lord/Shane & Shane