From the time we wake in the morning and decide to actually get out of bed until we finally decide to go back to bed at the end of the day, we are constantly making decisions.
Some of these are easy decisions. On the other hand, some of our decisions are life changing. Should you take that job, marry that person, or run the red light because you’re running late?
In his new book, What Does god Want? A Practical Guide to Making Decisions, Father Michael Scanlan lays out a clear decision making process to help us discern properly what does God really want for us.
Here are five things to keep in mind the next time you’re making a decision!
1. Does your decision conform to God’s will?
While this question seems plainly obvious, there are times when make our will look like God’s will.
Fr. Scanlan gives the example of a widow with two young children dating a man going through an annulment. While marring this man would help provide for her and her children, marrying outside of the Church if he doesn’t receive the annulment would ultimately hurt her and her children’s relationship with God.
We must take into consideration God’s will and trust in his providence for us and our families when making these decisions.
2. Does your decision encourage conversion?
“Every decision we make, all the work we do, every relationship we enter into should draw us closer to the Lord,” Fr. Scanlan writes,
If something or someone is pulling us away from God, we must reconsider that choice, and choose to do what is right in the Lord.
3. Is your decision consistent?
God is consistent, but we’re not. God doesn’t always do the same things for us, but he consistently gives each of us what we need to guide us along the narrow path.
Do your decisions fit with the kind of person we are? Imagine that a football star goes into the NFL draft. It wouldn’t be consistent if he dedicated all of his training time to ballet.
There maybe times when God throws us into a situation that seems unfamiliar and different than what we planned for ourselves. In those cases, we must discern if God is calling us to a different path because we might be consistently making the wrong decision.
4. What confirms your decision?
Have you ever looked for signs to confirm that the decision you made was the right one?
Maybe you wait for all the pieces to fall into place, or for a friend to confirm that they would have made the same decision.
But we can be deceived into thinking a certain ‘sign’ or agreement is what is right, even though we know it goes against what God wants. What is often confirmed as good by today’s culture goes against God in every way.
5. Does your heart say yes?
All of us have an inner voice of conscience. The Holy Spirit, that ‘funny feeling’ or butterflies in the pit of our stomach tells us something is or isn’t what it should be.
If something doesn’t feel right, it might just be that we need more time to make the right decision. Stop, pray, ask the questions again, and pray some more.
In What Does God Want? A Practical Guide to Making Decisions, Father Michael Scanlan outlines specific steps and real life examples of how to make godly decisions.
He also goes on to explain other considerations and processes to make those difficult decisions when there is no obvious right choice. Fr. Scanlan often quietly fought between what he willed for his life and where God ultimately brought him.
Ultimately, Fr. Scanlan learned how to follow the will of God in his life, and used that wisdom so that we too can also follow the will of God in our lives.