Back in the day, commitments were made verbally, and sealed with a pinkyswear, a handshake, or a cross my heart and hope to die. Those were the good old days, when people actually kept their word. If you’ve ever wondered how, they simply made better decisions before making a promise. Then, they simply resolved to keep their word.
Have you ever felt post-commitment dissonance? Maybe you’ve had some of these thoughts; ‘”what if something urgent or better comes up? Did I say, “yes,” too soon? Have I made a mistake? I don’t feel like following through.” I’ve been there! The Bible states, “it is better not to commit at all, than to break your promise”, but that verse is not a license to escape commitment.
The fear that you’ve made the wrong decision can be paralyzing. Moving beyond fear into a confident resolution comes from making wise Biblical decisions. God is fully prepared to help you.
My sister made a huge career change, recently. Jolene resigned from her role as Executive Director, Development. Her new title is, Executive Director, Family Development. Jo’s new CEO’s are both under the age of 8. Jolene’s resolution to leave, after more than 10 years with the University of Calgary, did not come easy for her.
I was so proud of my little sis’ – not solely for the decision she made, although I fully support her in this opportunity. I’m amazed at the way she made up her mind. She was careful to consider the cause, the facts, and the effects, before reaching her conclusion.
Making Confident Decisions
The Bible teaches the principles for how to make wise decisions, before you commit.
Do you make commitments without praying? Stop it! Sorry if that was harsh – but you can’t trust your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5. Only God can see the beginning from the end. He knows what is best for everyone involved. Pray and submit to Biblical wisdom. Proverbs 3:6.
Consider the cause
Search your heart, first. Often, what motivates us to choose one direction or another is, not careful consideration of what is best, but, what seems good or feels right, at the time. Ask yourself, “what is driving my desire”? Are you trying to escape some responsibility? Are you fleeing from the mundane? Will your decision go against God’s moral absolutes? If so, don’t do it.
Consider the Facts
Jesus illustrated this important principle, in Luke 14:28-30. He said, “suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish”. Sadly, every broken promise makes a statement about you.
Will there be a financial requirement? Can you meet the new obligation, without compromise or negating your existing commitments? If you share a budget, have you discussed the implications with your partner(s)? If you don’t have their blessing, don’t do it.
Do you have the time? There’s nothing worse than feeling overwhelmed because you’ve taken on too much. Your God given priorities must come first. Phil 2:4. CS Lewis said, “we are finite and God will not call us everywhere or to support every worthy cause”.
Do you have the skills? There is no shame if you don’t, but it will become your shame if you over-estimate your ability and under-deliver because you can’t live up to your promise.
How’s your spiritual health? If you are emotionally or spiritually bankrupt, or still young in your faith, you may not be ready. Trust in God’s timing. Set aside regular periods for one-on-one with God, before you set out to accomplish anything. Be still and grow strong.
Consider the effects
Make a list of those who will benefit from your decision. If you are the only one on the list, that will be telling.
No promise is too small
People often dismiss the seemingly unimportant commitments. Don’t do that! Small compromises help to solidify rationalization. Return the call. Show up early. Keep that play date with your child. Develop a habit of faithfulness in the small things, and you gain the confidence of others.
Don’t give up. Don’t back down
If you’ve been through this process, you can trust that the best decision is the one you’ve already made. You need to know, the enemy is after your commitment. When you are tested – don’t give up! Call a friend who will talk you of the ledge. Ask someone to pray. Whatever you do, don’t back down. God is faithful, He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear.
Although many might question Jolene’s decision, she can have peace of mind because she considered the cause, the facts, and the effect, before making her decision. Her commitment will not go unnoticed – by God. Her loyalty will result in eternal accomplishment and be fully rewarded. You can have that too!
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