Have you ever struggled with a decision? How do you decide when your head and your heart disagree? Which do you trust?Have you ever struggled to make a #decision? How do you decide when your head and your heart disagree? Which do you #trust? Click To Tweet
We brought home a new puppy to fill the gaping hole our departed standard poodle’s untimely death left in our hearts. Strider, as we call him, immediately lifted our spirits. He was the joy boy we needed. His tail wagged during play, and he made every effort to please.
He was wonderful—except for a small limp. At his puppy appointment I pointed it out to our vet. “Try to keep him quiet a few days. It should heal. Call me if it doesn’t.”
Two more visits and an X-ray showed bone OCD in his right shoulder. He would require shoulder surgery and 6-8 weeks of confinement. Sometimes both shoulders are affected.
In the four weeks we’d shared together, Strider has learned to run to me when I call. When he needs to potty, he stands on his hind legs and tries to turn the doorknob. He shows the intelligence of our Max and the desire to please of our lost Cosette. The thought of returning him rips our already tattered hearts. But the cost of surgery and reality of managing a puppy after surgery gives us pause.
Larry and I have ping-ponged back and forth. When one of us has peace on returning Strider, circumstances have interfered or the other wavers. Our grown children, of course, want us to keep him. Now the coronavirus mandates have come down. How will this affect us?
The breeder guarantees her puppies. That means we could get a new one, not that she covers surgery costs. We are willing to care for him, but our ministry survives on donations. In such a time of economic uncertainty should we keep a puppy that requires medical attention? On the other hand, without quick intervention, it sounds like he is doomed to a life of pain.
The book of wisdom says,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take” (Pro. 3:5-6 NLT).
Practical Tips to Help You Decide
How does this work when making tough decisions? Here are some suggestions.
- Seek God’s will.
If I’m committed to following God’s path, the Scripture promises He will show it to me. But fears and desires can create emotional noise that drowns out God’s voice. Only when I’m willing to do God’s will can I discern His gentle guidance over the clamor of my concerns.
Action: Remind yourself that no one ever regrets following God’s will, but we always regret not heeding it. God’s will always proves perfect in the long run (Rom. 12:2), even if it doesn’t look perfect in the moment. Surrender your will and affirm your desire for His will to be done.
- Listen to the story you’re telling yourself.
We can weave great stories in our minds. Some spin fairytales, others tragedies. We create fictional stories about our past and future. In the case of our puppy, I saw him limping in pain for the rest of his life if we returned him. On the other hand, the scenario of keeping him included the possibility of ongoing vet bills. Another story said there would never be another puppy as sweet and smart as this one.
The stories I told myself concerned the future. And Jesus clearly said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow” (Matt. 6:34). I had to corral my thoughts and make them submit to Jesus (2 Cor. 10:5). The Bible says to think on things that are true (Phil. 4:8). The truth is no human knows the future. But I know the One who holds my future will not forsake me, however this story plays out.
The truth is no human knows the future. But I know the One who holds my future will not forsake me, however this story plays out. #BigGod Click To Tweet .
- Don’t fear making the wrong decision.
Pressure to make the perfect decision can be paralyzing. How can we make the right decision when we don’t know everything? Only God is all-knowing. However, we can trust that He will reward those who seek Him, and that provides precious peace of mind (Heb. 11:6).
- Pray with thanksgiving.
When I make my requests to God with thanksgiving, I receive His peace (Phil. 4:6-7). I thank Him that He has heard me. He is leading me. In His time, it will be clear. It’s not up to me to get this right. I only need to trust Him.
Our research has swayed us back and forth. We need God’s peace to guard our hearts and minds. It is up to Him to open and shut the doors (Pro. 16:9). Lack of peace has caused us to take our time.
Action: Am I trusting in my ability to decide? Or am I trusting in His ability to guide (Ps. 32:8)?
A recent devotion ended with this assignment: “Seek today to live beyond your circumstances.” Larry and I discussed it, and right now we have no peace in returning our joy boy (Rom. 14:23). The breeder said to take our time. Are we to heed another Scripture? “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble” (Heb. 12:12 NASB). We appreciate your prayers as we wait for God to show us the right path.
What helps you when you can’t decide?Am I trusting in my ability to #decide? Or am I trusting in His ability to #guide? Click To Tweet
Update on Strider:
It turns our Strider doesn’t have bone OCD. The vet doesn’t know what is wrong. He may get worse; he may get better; he may stay the same. For us it means he is ours! We are keeping him and praying for Jehovah to heal Strider’s stride!