How many times have you made a big decision and considered every angle and every person’s opinion only to wish later you had decided differently?
I used to consider everyone’s opinions in my circle before I made decisions, weighing the pros and cons, and how everyone would feel if I did A or B. I was concerned that I might hurt someone or make someone else’s life difficult and tried to imagine every possible outcome or solution to a dilemma.
As my circle widened and my responsibilities increased, it became more and more difficult to solve issues with so much to consider and pray over.
How many people do you think considered my feelings or my life with that much time or effort?
I had to ask myself this question when faced with huge decisions several years ago.
“Whose fault is it when I make decisions based on you, and you make decisions based on you, but no one considers me?”
The answer took a while, but it was clear then, still is clear now. It is my fault.
When weighing the pros and cons of a decision, we should know our priorities and consider our goals and chosen partnerships first.
When we make a decision based on priorities, goals, and partnerships, we won’t have to second guess ourselves.
We will be able to look back and show we made the right decision. It gives us peace of mind to know our priorities and what we are trying to accomplish.
In my own life, a strong healthy loving journey that lines up with my beliefs as a Christian comes first. Healthy balanced adults are gifts to the rest of the world.
My husband and home are next, which includes our job responsibilities. If we still had children at home, they would be in this group. These things are so intertwined that they require discussion such as sick kids versus the job.
We are grandparents, so our daughter and family follow. We have a small extended family who we consider as well.
Priorities change with seasons of life such as raising children or a demanding job, and are examples of a prior decision determining priority.
We are a family. We made the children, so we are responsible to raise them while they are in our care. We took the job, so we are responsible to do it well. My daughter calls it the pecking order.
We have to know our priorities before we are faced with a decision, so that we don’t try to please someone else at the expense of our own family or goal.
A family’s long term goals should be a priority over short term wants too.
Each family’s goals and priorities are different, so ongoing discussion is needed to keep everyone headed in the same direction.
Our priorities get muddled when we try to mix in other people’s priorities.
Clarity will prevent a lot of arguments.
Now, whenever I am confused as to what to do, I remind myself that I am not responsible for considering your feelings about my decisions unless we are in a partnership.
Partnerships include marriage or equal relationship, parenting, and working relationships.
Even then, there are firm limits on how much I allow your issues or your feelings to play a role in a decision that I will have to live with.
We choose responsibilities, priorities, and partnerships on a daily basis.
It is not my responsibility to please anyone other than God, myself, and fulfill my immediate responsibilities that I have created or chosen.
I choose my job or I can quit. I choose to love my family or limit time with those who create negative situations. I choose to pay my bills on time or suffer the consequences. I choose to take care of my car or end up on the side of the road. I choose to take care of those in my household including my sweet animals.
God will guide me, but he will not force me to be a better person. He will give me the wisdom and faithfulness to follow his plan, but it is still my choice, and I am aware that I can mess up.
I no longer make decisions based on other people’s priorities or let their created emergencies become mine. Having said that, I am aware that there are things we cannot help as in illness or financial devastation, and I gladly step in to help those in my corner of the world with love. I do that because one of my priorities is to help those I love, but I still choose.
Our lives, and how we live them are ultimately the result of a collection of choices that we make.
Whenever I make a big decision, I still try to be considerate, but from a context point of view. It is not my main goal to make everyone happy.
The goal is to solve whatever issue I am trying to solve in a positive life affirming/goal aligning way with my priorities in mind.
It helps to know myself well, and know who and what are the most important to me and consider those.
Finally, I want to point out that many decisions we make or have made might not please others, but that doesn’t mean they are/were wrong.
If at the time you make a decision, it is the best for your established priorities pecking order, then rest easy.
Apart from criminal activity, some decisions are best seen from afar in hindsight.
My husband and I have talked about this quite a bit considering our divorce and remarriage. We did what was best for our partnership at the time.
We did consider others, agonized really, but after much struggle and consideration, we chose our mental and physical health. That trumps anyone else’s feelings.
Make your decisions based on your own priorities, partnerships, and established choices.
Barefoot and writing,
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