Wednesday, June 03, 2009

TWO PATHS DIVERGED: MAKING THE BIG LIFE DECISIONS - Part Deux

“Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

In my last post, I had just decided to leave my enjoyable life and government job in DC to become a missionary in Latvia, largely because I knew that if I didn’t go, I’d always wonder what might have been. That was a question I was not prepared to live
with. For some people, other factors would have had priority over answering the “What if?” question, things like security, family, or career. These are vitally important, and we are all different. For me, it was important to go. I felt it was God’s will, first of all; then, I felt it was a great way to make the most of being single, since I had the freedom to do it. So off I went into my excellent adventure.

So many challenges to my faith, my pluck, and my abilities ensued that I couldn’t even count them. Through it all, though, I learned much more about making major life decisions. Here are a few of them:

1. FAITH IS THE KEY INGREDIENT IN ANY DECISION. Scripture says that “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), and I would add that without faith, it’s really impossible to move forward in life. We can pray, get advice, make our lists of pros and cons, sweat, worry, cry, ad infinitum. (Believe me, I’ve done PLENTY of that.) But it the end, it’s faith in God’s goodness, his guidance, and his equipping for the task ahead that enables us to make the big decision, take the calculated risk, and walk forward in it with confidence. Faith is just as essential to decide that the new path is not the right path, as sometimes staying the course is the way forward. Faith even comforts us that if we do make a wrong decision, God is well able to redeem it as only He can.

2. TAKING HOLD OF A NEW CHALLENGE MEANS LETTING GO OF SOMETHING ELSE. When I decided to raise my own support and go to Latvia my congressional coworkers, depending on point of view, marveled either at my insanity or bravery. One woman whose life was a stunning success by any worldly standard, ranked in The Washington Post as one of Washington’s fifty most powerful staffers, told me that she envied me for having the guts to follow my dreams. She confessed that she could never do it. Granted, I didn’t have nearly as much to lose as she would have. Still, I had to let go of everything and everyone dear to me to embrace this new life, and there was never a moment when that sacrifice didn’t hurt. Yet I would do it again in a New York minute, because I’ve learned that taking on something new almost always necessitates letting go of something old, even if it’s only old attitudes or fears. And this, too, takes faith.

Stand by for Part Trois. And don't forget to comment with your own discoveries about making major life decisions.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous23:03

    "letting go of everything and everyone dear to me..." I DEFINATELY get that one. But there is nothing more thrilling than to LIVE by faith and so worth the roller coaster ride. It is scary with the ups and downs, yes, but knowing that it is "divinely orchestrated" with "heavens rails" that has an appointed end, gives me cause to TRUST. Besides, my friend is at the controls...

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  2. You're absolutely right, Anonymous. And I had a thrilling ride in Latvia, which is why I'd do it again any time.I've made several life-altering decisions in life and, in fact, am in the middle of one now. I haven't seen this one pay off yet, but I know I will, because I know my God.

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  3. Anonymous16:54

    Your statement "there was never a moment when that sacrifice didn’t hurt" resonated with me in my own experience of following God into a new life direction. I didn't really feel the sting of the sacrifice though until after I'd already made it and there was no way to go back. It's been life-altering in more ways than I could have ever anticipated.

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