Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Have you ever really stopped and thought about how many decisions you must make every day of your life? For that matter, think about how many you make every hour of every day. Some of us can hardly count the ones we have to make each minute. Do you ever get overwhelmed to the point that you would rather just have someone else make them for you? Oh, you mean I'm the only one that does? OK then, maybe I'll just decide to pick another topic to write aboutJ.

Seriously, having to make constant decisions can be very wearing, can't it? Maybe you thought I was exaggerating when I said each minute, but as a teacher and coach, you literally do make decisions on a minute by minute basis. In each class, your students will force you to decide some things. It may be that they are disobeying a class or school rule and you have to decide if it is going to be worth the time and distraction to enforce it. They may ask an inappropriate question and you must decide how you will answer. Maybe you're giving a test and you think a student is cheating. You must decide how to approach that student in order to get to the truth without possibly accusing them falsely. Are you getting my drift here? As a high school teacher, you are faced with multiple decisions for each of your five class periods.

When I was coaching, the amount of decisions could be quadrupled, especially as a Head coach. It is hard for anyone who has not had that experience, to imagine how many decisions a Head football coach makes each day. Just like in the classroom, you know that sometimes what even seems like a small, nondescript decision can affect one of your players in a big way. Let me give you one example. One year I had a wonderful young man, an extremely hard worker, who injured himself in a drill. He said his neck hurt a little bit, but that he was fine and wanted to get back in the action. He looked and acted perfectly fine and it would have been easy to do just that. Instead, we called his mom and asked her to come down and take him in to be examined by a doctor, which she did. By the time he got there, he was acting strangely and felt ill. He was immediately taken into emergency and the situation quickly turned worse. The doctor said that he had pinched an artery in his neck, which cut off blood flow to his brain. He informed the player's mom that had he not gotten treatment in the next twenty minutes or so, he would not have survived. Fortunately, he was treated in time and everything turned out well. Unfortunately, he didn't play again for us, but that, I'm sure, was a good decision.

I can guarantee you that an event like that, made our coaching staff realize how important our decisions could be. During each practice, literally hundreds of decisions are made which will affect the outcome of an upcoming game, but also will have an effect on individual player's lives. In my coaching career, I never wanted to take either of those two elements lightly. I remember another time when I wished I had made a different decision than the one I made. We were running what we call "team offense", which means that we run a certain number of our plays against our defense, live. We had run what was scripted to be our last play, but we did not execute properly, so I gave the famous coaching command, "RUN IT AGAIN." At the end of that play, my quarterback, the best player on the team, went down with a knee injury. It was his last play of the season. I cannot describe to you how badly I felt for that young man. There is nothing worse in sports, than having a player who has worked hard and sacrificed so much in order to perform at their highest level, lose the opportunity to play because of injury. Even after twenty five years, I wish I would have ended practice that day rather than saying those words.

I guess that the point is to realize that we make many decisions every day and those decisions have consequences attached to them. That is why it's easy to become overwhelmed by the weight of decision making. How do we deal with that issue? Is there a way to guarantee that we make good decisions? Can we eliminate the bad ones? Well, those are good questions, so now I will have to decide whether or not to try and answer them. I will tell you up front that I have certainly made my share of bad decisions. We all do, but I think that there are some things that we can do which will help us make the best decisions possible most of the time.

The first and most important thing you must do is make the biggest decision of your life. If you haven't already done so, you need to turn your life over to God. He created you to have fellowship with Him. This happens when you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. When you do that, the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in you. One of His main purposes is to give you guidance in the entire decision making process. John 16:13 says, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth." Col 2:3 tells us that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In order for us to make wise decisions, we must ourselves be "in Christ". Think about it. If God is omniscient (knows all there is to know, beginning to end), wouldn't it make sense to rely on him for guidance in our decision making?

Without this important first step, there is really nothing I could tell you that would help you to make good decisions. Why? Because God is concerned not only with temporal issues, but eternal ones. We tend to make our decisions based on what seems good for us here and now, but God wants what is best for our eternal soul. So without His involvement, we are bound to make wrong decisions. It really shouldn't be that hard to choose what God wants, rather than what we might think we want, when we realize how much He loves us. Consider this verse. Jer 29:11 " For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

During this next week, look at the book of Genesis in the Old Testament and read about three men, Abraham, Joseph and Moses. Write down what strikes you about how they made their decisions.

In the next post, I hope to share some practical ways to make good, Godly decisions. Until then, may God bless you as you seek to follow Him.


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