I hate choices. Okay, that isn’t totally correct. I hate choices that have an upside and a downside; I find it hard to make up my mind. I’ve been told it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, so why does a guy like me have so much trouble making up his mind? My theory is this “woman’s prerogative” observation was made by a man watching his wife shopping for clothes or shoes or both. The fact he was willing to say it out loud leads me to believe that he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the drawer. He was probably the same man who when asked by his wife during the shopping trip, “Do these pants make me look fat?” answered, “I don’t think it has anything to do with the pants.” Not being a medical doctor or psychologist does not exclude me from stating with 99.5% certainty: men can be indecisive (and fat) too.
One of the most indecisive moments…
…in my life came about 10 years into my marriage. It could have been 9 years or 12 or maybe 13 years; I can’t seem to make up my mind! Our family had planned to visit my wife’s grandparents, a six-hour drive from our house. Because her grandparents and her parents were returning from Washington State to a suburb of Detroit by car, we had not talked to them in a while (I’m pretty old—cell phones were only for the rich back then). My wife called her grandparent’s home, but there was no answer. She was pretty sure that this was the weekend that they were returning. She wanted to go, our three boys wanted to go, and I wanted to go, but there was some uncertainty.
What if she had the wrong weekend?
Why couldn’t we get a hold of them? Should we take a chance or stay home and possibly miss out on seeing them? Someone had to make a decision. My wife was positive that this was the right weekend and puzzled as to why they weren’t at home to answer the phone. It was possible that they had gone shopping; after all, they had been away for a long time and did need food. We began to pack, but I was not sure that going was the best idea. I relayed my fears to my wife, and with a little discussion, we stopped packing. I could see the disappointment on her face, and I knew she was positive that this was the right weekend. I flip-flopped and said, “Let’s get packed up and go if you are sure this is the right weekend.” It wasn’t long before I flip-flopped again and said, “What if they aren’t home?” I went back and forth not sure what to do. We even started the drive when I changed my mind again. Every time I switched sides, the discussion became a little more heated. The truth is, it was me that became a little more heated. What if we stayed home and they were there waiting for us? What if we went and they weren’t there? I was afraid to make a decision. There was no right answer. There was no wrong answer. There was no answer. All I knew was I didn’t want to let my wife and family down, so I bounced back and forth between the two possibilities.
The reason for this story isn’t to point out if my wife was…
…right or wrong. The point of this story is that I was torn between two options. I tried to weigh out the positives and negatives of both. In the end, I took everyone out for dinner and a movie near our house. It was not on the list of options, but at least there would be good memories of that day, and I avoided driving six hours to find out that I had to drive another six hours home because she was wrong. Oops, I wasn’t going to say who was wrong,
In our lives, in our churches, the biggest enemy of structural soundness is indecision. Whether we have heard a distinct calling from God or we are waiting for Him to speak, our human nature wants to know what is going on. Somewhere deep inside, we know that God is perfect and understand that He is not absent from the process. Nearer to the surface, our sinful nature is not satisfied with just understanding the character of God; we want to know the plan, know the timetable, and know the location. If we don’t like what we hear or don’t hear from God on our timetable, we begin down the road of indecision trying to choose, God’s way or my way. In the silence, when God makes us wait, or in the overwhelming noise of questioning what we hear, it is hard to know what to do.
“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Over the next few months I will be preaching a sermon series using my book Blueprint as a jumping off point. My posts will contain small sections from my book and a link to my sermon.