I’m working on a lesson plan for the Center for Spiritual Formation
’s spiritual direction training program. The topic for this day long session? Discernment.
Decision making. I have about five hours to help directors-in-training understand how to help directees figure out what God is trying to tell them and how to act on it.
It’s part of what therapists and counselors do, too. Probably the majority of my clients struggle with some kind of decision and are looking for feedback – to gain some clarity, more information, or just someone to listen while he or she thinks out loud.
How can I accept what’s happened/happening? Should I?
Should I stay (in this job/relationship/location)?
Should I go (to this school, to that family get-together)?
The problem with decisions about our lives is…we can never be 100% certain. That it will work out. That it’s the right decision. That another choice might not have been better.
Enter the what-ifs.
There are lots of good resources on decision making. They help you make the best decision you can. They will all include some version of the following:
Get feedback – trusted friends, professionals (Proverbs 12:15 and other verses)
Don’t be impulsive – take some time to think things through (not worry about it, that’s different)
Don’t look back
I add two pieces in working with my clients.
When we’re looking back at decisions, I remind them that they probably made the best decision they could with the information they had available and the context they were in. Hindsight is not 20/20 in this respect. We tend to forget how we felt and what was going on at these points in history.
And maybe more importantly, just because things don’t work out the way you thought they would doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision. You are not in control of anything but yourself.
Trust yourself. Trust the process.
(I love helping clients explore options to become more whole and find their joy. Therapy is much more about moving forward than looking back.)