“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.” ~Paulo Coelho

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An excerpt from The Chance to Choose, now available through my online store:

 

Taking time to stand and look protects us from overly emotional choices. It is also important to realize that you are not making a decision in Step 1. You are only standing and looking.

This fact is easy to forget, as demonstrated by a conversation I’d had with a friend of mine. Sue and I stood behind home plate, watching our boys battle it out in the fifth baseball tournament of the season. She was antsy, fidgeting with her terrier’s leash.

“Jim and I have a huge decision to make,” she finally blurted. “We don’t know what to do. We’re finally feeling like a family again. He’s back home with us, we’re returning to a normal rhythm again, but another job opportunity has come up…back in Idaho. It wouldn’t be temporary, this time, though. All of us will make the move if he chooses this job.”

It’d been a tough year already for her family. After searching far too long for employment, Sue’s husband Jim had no choice but to take the only job he could find that would provide for the family (and help his own sense of professional worth), but it meant living apart. They made the tough decision with thoughtful consideration, determined goals, prayer, and a sense of overall peace that the temporary situation would find them together again someday.

It was a dance to behold as they waltzed it out with poise and dignity. Having been back together again for only a few months, they now found themselves at a similar crossroads. Jim’s new local job was going well, he enjoyed it, but the potential for future growth didn’t exist. The salary also limited any feeling of “comfortable.”

Our conversation was providential because I had literally just walked out of teaching The Jeremiah Method™ at a one-day seminar. The Steps sat on the tip of my brain, so I shrank my six hour workshop down to six minutes, only interrupted by her son’s homerun. I felt awkward giving advice to this seasoned Christian woman who had provided plenty of wisdom for me in the past, but sometimes it’s helpful to hear something put in a different way, hence the beauty of our Jeremiah verse.

“The ‘looking’ in Step 1 ended up being huge for me” she commented, while catching me up to speed a few days later. “I think I was afraid to inquire about anything in Idaho…schools, neighborhoods, the community, and their baseball programs…feeling like I would be committing if I did. But after taking the time to look at the situation, as suggested, I realized I was just looking so I could make a better informed decision in the long run.

It was not an easy step to take because so much of what I want is to stay here where I’m comfortable, where my friends and church family are. My flesh wants to keep my feet planted among the known. So much of our life for the past year has been about the unknown and I’m tired. What if God’s plan for our family is in Idaho?”

***

What is something you’ve been afraid to look at? Have you thought, by doing so, you’d commit to a decision? Step out of that false thinking and realize that you are just kicking around an idea that’s already there anyway.

Explore.

Consider.

Pray.

Stand and look.

For more tools and tips like this, order your copy of The Chance to Choose, because The Jeremiah Method™ is now here to assist you!

 

Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)