10 Crucial Considerations for Spiritual Decision Making

Ever been stuck in a decision?  One where perhaps you’re discerning a better and best more than a right or wrong?  Or, perhaps you are making a wise vs. stupid decision, but you aren’t sure which side of wise or stupid you are on.:-) Some decisions clearly do carry a right and wrong choice, as defined by God. And others, if not carefully pursued, can begin innocently and yet end up badly. Also, there there are those that can end up being better or best–decisions we don’t want to miss making.

A question I’ve been mulling around in my head and heart over the past week or two is not (in the best of my Bible reading, praying, discernment and advice seeking over the last couple of weeks) one that has a right or wrong attached to it or is of utmost importance. It’s really only about writing, and how much extra time (beyond my already very busy job) to devote to this hobby I quite enjoy. Beyond books, (which is my main focus in this hobby) I am continually learning that there’s so much more I “could and should” learn to do with blogs, social media, etc. to enhance the ability to get the message of these books out there. But alas, there are only so many hours in a day. I need to decide just how much extra time to spend on these things.

I also have a few Christian friends who are currently making some decisions of a different nature. As a result, I put together a few questions I’m asking myself concerning spiritual decision making. Let me know any others you consider, as well as how these considerations may have helped you make decisions.

One request.  Please stop and read the scriptures, for they are the real meat in this little list. And also remember that our decision making influences others’ lives whom our lives touch..

  1. Will the decision(s) I make (big and small) reflect a true “seeking the kingdom first” heart and attitude—where it is evident to those around me that the kingdom of God  and his righteousness are more important to me than anything else?  (Matthew 6:19-34)
  2. Will my decisions be made only after Bible study, prayer, perhaps fasting, and seeking advice? (James 1:2-8; 2 Timothy 2:15; Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16-17)
  3. Will my decisions help me help more people find a true relationship with God? (1 Cor. 9:19-27, John 4:34-35)
  4. Will my decisions reflect the Godly practice of seeking advice and seeking the good of the whole?   (Romans 12:1-5; Proverbs 15:22)
  5. Will my decisions reflect a “servant heart” and will they help me exercise humility in my life? Currently, does this heart and attitude show itself in tangible ways in my life—ways that help guard me and my family from the temptations of entitlement or self-serving? (Philippians 2:1-11)
  6. If my decisions carry a price tag, will I begin with a “tithing spirit”— a decision to give to God a generous portion FIRST? Does the current way I handle my finances reflect a “first fruits” heart toward God and inspire my family to think first of giving back to God? (Mark 12:29-44)
  7. Will I let things I have already done for God, cause me to think it’s now “my time”? ,,, I deserve this or that? (Luke 17:7-10)
  8. Will my decisions help me be of greater service to the church? Ephesians 5:15-16; John 4:34-35; Luke 8:14-15)
  9. Will my decisions help me be more focused on God’s purposes, or will they add complication and distraction to my already busy life? ( Luke 10:38-42; Luke 8:14-15)
  10. Will my decisions be affected by what others will think of me more than what I can know  is best as defined by God and his word—as far as I can discern? (Mark 12:14)             crucial considerations for sdm

The Little Fox and the Little Cockerpoo

There are big things in life that give us pause—and tempt us with worry. Things like illness, job struggles, and conflicts.  They call us to a deeper and higher faith.

Then there are other things that are small, and stupid, and annoying, and seemingly insignificant in the face of life and love. Often, it’s those things that try to steal my joy and pulverize my peace. A verse in Song of Songs 2:15 describes this type of annoyance:  Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

And, if these foxes aren’t caught they can put a choke-hold on our spiritual growth.

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  Luke 8:14

For me, this fox recently took the form of an eighteen pound ball of fluff—my thirteen-year-old cockerpoo.20150417_013724

Until recently I had a love-hate relationship with him. You see—about a year ago, after his dog cousin came for a visit, he felt obligated to claim every space where his dog cousin had ever set his paw. Yes, this became a terrible daily ritual. It began in the yard…where every blade of grass and rock or pebble seemingly called out to him for ownership. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there.

I would hold my breath each time I walked through my front door, wondering what claimed treasures awaited me.  I would then cautiously peer at all of the usual suspects—the front left wooden leg of my new chair and the right wooden leg of the same chair.  (He was at least symmetrical in his claims.)  I’d then venture over to the plastic bin containing our golden retriever’s food—to find it had also been claimed. The trashcan, the vacuum cleaner…yes, they all had his initials written on them—PP.

If ever a new object entered the room, he was determined to “own it”.  I gasped whenever a guest placed their purse or briefcase down on our floor, knowing it was a race against time as to who could reach it first…him or me.  I would hastily grab said object as if I were sliding into base—placing said object somewhere above the four-inch- high margin required to be safe from “claimage territory.” Every day, twice a day, I folded about six paper towels and placed them under the left wooden leg of my chair and the right wooden leg of the same chair. A paper towel palette was also carefully placed under the dog food bin. This way, I could “catch” the claimage and throw it away. My house began to look like a sea of Bounty.

I explained to my little dog that really…he could have it all—everything in the house I’d give him—No need to claim it again and again.

He didn’t care.

My husband, sensing my angst, offered various solutions—all of which didn’t end very well for the dog. My dog’s disturbing antics began to haunt me, appearing in my dreams and consuming too many of my thoughts.  Really, how stupid…in the big scheme of things… that my dog’s marking could take so much attention from much more important things.

So, I made an appointment for my dog to see the vet.  I reasoned that there must certainly be a medical reason for such horrible behavior. An infection? A tick eating away his brain?

Alas…He was healthy. The vet, noting we had never had him “fixed”—(duh, he was obviously broken)—suggested we try neutering him. If this didn’t work (which was possible due to his age) then he would be given behavior meds.  If those didn’t work, perhaps I could take them.

My husband was not keen on the idea of spending several hundred dollars for a “possible” solution, suggesting he had much less expensive solutions (of course he meant petting him more often and giving more treats 🙂 ) My veterinarian told me about a shelter an hour away that offered inexpensive neutering.

So, early one snowy morning I drove over an hour to “the place.”  After I dropped him off for the day I went to pray—praying that if this little deed being done would not stop the madness—that he would go quietly and peacefully to doggie heaven (I hoped) while under anesthesia.  Later in the day, when I picked him up he was as frisky as a young pup.  It was obviously not yet his time.  Later that evening…day of surgery…we had a birthday celebration at our house that included all of our family and all family dogs. 16 humans, 5 dogs.  Not a smart move.  My 13-year-old newly-neutered-canine felt the commotion and in his anxiety… peed. Fail.

However, the story didn’t end there. I am thrilled to tell you that this was nearly three months ago…and he has been perfect since that day! No marking…just calm and obedient. (This was perhaps the best $100 I ever spent.)  Fixed and fixed. I now smile when I walk in the front door, as there is nothing to find.  I sent my veterinarian flowers (not really, but did send her a thank you) and no longer fold the paper towels and place them around the house.

The fox has been captured and the dog has been saved. I’m once again sane and can more peacefully focus on matters of greater significance.  That is, until the next fox comes and tries to steal my peace.  Prayerfully I’ll be ready for him.