Friday, October 24, 2008

Why You Hate Making Decisions

Some years back, I learned something about the word "decide" that I have often reflected upon and shared with others. When you learn more about this word, you will better understand why it is often hard to make decisions.

The part of the word "decide" that is of particular interest is the "cide" part. It is Latin and means "to kill" (as in: suicide, homicide, infanticide and so on). This means that when you decide something you are by the very nature of the act putting some of your options to death. You are killing off choices. You are slaying some things in order to empower others.

As in any death, there can be a natural and important greiving that goes with deciding. People who marry may need to mourn the death of their singleness. People who choose to become a real part of one church must reconcile the fact that they are letting go of another. People who choose to live in the country may need to mourn the loss of the city lights.

When we choose a particular college, career, car, political candidate -- you name it -- we are admitting that we can't keep our options open for ever. The gavel must fall sooner or later and, when it does, something must die. This is the other side of the blessing of free choice.

It seems to me that one of the problems of our times is that we don't like limiting our choices. We want to keep our options open for ever. We want to wait until we have more data, more certainty, more assurance, less risk. Or we may even punt and let someone else make our decisions for us. "It's too complicated" or "it's too painful" we say. "You do the killing for me".

It would appear that too many of those who declare "until God shall separate us by death" at the wedding altar really mean "until something better comes my way". Too many who sing "I have decided to follow Jesus -- no turning back" really mean "I'll try to have the best of the kingdom and the best of the world too, thank you". But, or course, to decide for the Lordship of Christ is to murder the life we might have lived under our own direction. We can't have it both ways. Really. We can't.

I recently decided to change my life in major ways and say "goodbye" to things I loved a great deal including the security of the familiar (something we middle-aged folks learn to cherish). Sometimes, I chafe against this act of decision. Sometimes I wonder if there is a way I can go back and reconfigure it again and again. But, in my more clear-headed and mature moments, I remember all those things that reinforce the finality of deciding: "pick up your cross and follow Me" (the cross being a symbol of death), "you can't steal second base with your foot still on first" (unless, I might add you are one of the Fantastic Four or the lady in the Incredibles -- neither of which apply to me). And, one of my favorite John Wimber-isms: "Faith is spelled r-i-s-k". You see, we must often decide without guarantees, when its not the perfect time to do this or that, when we can only hope for the outcomes we want.

Committing acts of decision, committing that kind of murder is, in fact, the way we grow and shape our lives. Looking back down the chain of things we have decided is our history and our history is pretty much the story of our decisions.

1 comment:

kagwilt said...

WOW! That really spoke to what I've been feeling all day today. I've been kind of stuck today between wishing I could have church as I knew it at CVV back and knowing that isn't possible.