Decisions are a normal part of life. From the moment we’re born we begin to make them and never stop. Throughout our life we make good ones and bad ones not always knowing the difference until later. Some decisions take more time and others are spontaneous; subconscious if you will.
Depending on the person, it may be a burden overshadowed by fear just to decide whether they want to have Chinese food or a Burger for dinner. Not to make light of indecisive people because it really can be a challenge for some to make the smallest of everyday decisions like when to eat, what to wear, what television show to watch, or simply whether to call a friend when they need to talk.
What drives our inability to be decisive? Without any doubt, fear of the unknown is one of the primary influences on a person when they are making a choice. But, is that a bad thing? I would contend it can be both good and not so good.
All too often when we’re young the lack of fear allows us to make irrational and impulsive choices often leading us to a destructive end. As we age and have the scars to show for those impulsive decisions, we tend to be overly cautious and may miss opportunities because of it.
So, yes, fear of not touching the hot stove or walking out into the middle of a busy street will keep us safe. But when fear begins to bind us in knots leaving us crippled by it, is when we need to break free. Every decision becomes a burden. When making the smallest of decisions we hear that, ‘What if?’ ringing through our minds. The larger decisions may even lead us into a panic attack rendering us helpless.
As parents the fear factor is something we must contend with every day. On one hand we want to protect our children from every kind of harm and on the other we want them to learn from their mistakes like we did. I cringe when I think about the things I did as a child while playing outside. Parents today would NEVER allow their kids to do most of what we considered normal. Kids today are in car seats until they’re in elementary school. I don’t remember ever using a seat belt. The back seat was our territory to fight over and use as a trampoline if we wanted (well, maybe not quite that bad, but you get the point).
How do we know when fear is keeping us from making decisions or binding us so badly that we are ineffective? For most of us it’s not whether we know it’s there because we live with it constantly. It’s knowing what to do about it. So, how do we overcome fear so we can be free to take chances again and let go of the constant worry?
There really isn’t a quick solution, unfortunately. Most of our fears are built from years of hurt, failure, mistakes, or being told by others to be afraid of one thing or another. The first step is to recognize where fear has us bound in our life (easy one). The second step is to realize that fear is not always reality because, if we can see it for what it is (usually a lie) then it will be easier to overcome. The third, most important step, is to ask God to help us by giving us courage, wisdom, and faith.
Having the wisdom to know truth from a lie also comes from experience and open-minded research. Not believing everything we read on the Internet is a great start. Then, having the courage and faith in God knowing that He is with us, to step out on what we know to be true, even if we fail, will begin to break the chains of fear in our life. Every time we do that, whether we fail or succeed, we take one more step to freedom, and one day, we’ll look back and see how far the chains of fear have fallen behind us on our way to a brave new way of living our life…