Tuesday, April 24, 2012

At First Light: Day 25 The Muck of Indecision


I waver and wonder and worry. I go back and forth. I change my mind. And then change it again after I hear someone give their opinion on what I should or should not do.

If you had described me this way years ago,
before I had kids, I would've laughed.
I was known for speaking for mind and saying what I wanted.
I was sure. Decisive. Certain.

But over the last few years I've noticed a pattern in my life and it is not a good one. I've had trouble making decisions. Big trouble. Most of it is an interior dialogue, but it often seeps out into my conversations with my closet friends. And late at night, it keeps me staring at the clock instead of closing my eyes.
It keeps me distracted.  

For years, I have felt like a pendulum, swinging rapidly back and forth between two options. Both seem good. Both seem bad. And in between I am asking everyone and their grandmother what they think I should do. And when they give their answer?
I buckle up and get ready for the ride to swing yet again.

Living like this is awful. 
Honestly.
I am not being dramatic here. 

 It is a constant hmmm in my head of questioning that keeps me from being present in the now. Debilitated by a list of "what if's", constantly wondering which is the right way to go.

A couple of months ago, my old quarter horse Buck escaped his pasture and was running free around the farm. The longer my brothers chased, the further he ran. Buck was so desperate to  get away that he ran straight down an embankment and made a beeline for the nearby water in our creek. But he never made it there. My old bay horse had overlooked the dark swamp that lay in between. He plunged, landing up to his neck in marshy muck. He became completely and utterly stuck. Stuck in muck.

We called the fire department for help. They were clueless. How do you pull a 1,000 pound horse out of a mud hole?  Brooks, my brothers, and I went in after our frightened, shivering Buck. It felt nearly impossible to reach him.  Each step got us deeper and deeper in the black, smelly goo.  At one point, I lost both of my boots in the yuckiness. I was stuck too. Unable to move forward or back. My brother had to come over and pull me out.  

My sisters, the way my body felt that day in the swamp is how my heart feels when I am trapped in indecision. 
Just. Plain. Ol'. Stuck.   
Indecisiveness is best buddies with fear.
It's fueled by those things scary. It is exhausting.
It is not of the Lord. 

This Spring,  I am recognizing the unspoken
 pattern of indecisiveness in my life.
I am tired of passing the blame.
I am coming out of the muck.
And I am doing it one decision at a time.

My prayer life has been focused on this for the past few weeks.
This spiritual "discovery", rather I should call it "confession", is what catapulted me into making the hard decision to have this recent pelvic surgery.

A tough decision with an even tougher recovery. 

Healing only happens when we stop standing still.
At the Women of Faith Conference I attended a few weeks ago, I was still back and and forth about what to do. The surgery date was booked, but my head was swimming with indecision.  Just one week away and I was on the dangerous verge of cancellation.

That day, I offered up all of my fears to the Lord.
He answered me within hours, through the voice of
Christian author and speaker Andy Andrews.
"We must make an intentional decision to live with a DECIDED HEART. It is important that we learn how to make a decision and to make it right. Often times the doubts and fears we experience are not from God. They are from simply wanting to please the people around us. To live with the peace of a decided heart is life-changing."
This doesn't mean that we ignore wisdom and good council. It is important to confide and listen to our loved ones and their opinions when it comes time to make an important decision.  But what it does mean is that it shows maturity and integrity to make a choice without hanging on every word that is muttered by our friends and family. It is living FIRST to honor God and feeling the freedom to respond how He DESIGNED us to be. It is making a decision, trusting it to be the best and most right at that time, and then not looking back.

My hubby and I have been plagued with many making many choices this past year. Isn't this the story of life? We are faced with decisions each day, some carrying much more weight than others....

Home school or public school? Physical therapy or surgery? Tithe to this or tithe to that? New car or old? Adding another part-time job or saying no? Removing Lilli's tonsils or wait another season? Refinance or stick out the payments? Refuel the boat or sell it?  Surgery now or in six months? Mentor teenage boys or begin a Bible Study in our home? Volunteer here or there?

We have discussed and prayed and discussed some more. Throughout making each decision my hubby was great about saying no or yes and then moving on.
He's an example of a man living with a decided hard.

Me on the other hand?

Well, we would come to our conclusion and then I would rehash and need to re-decide. Over and Over. If I really had to be honest I find it nauseating to relive and even write about this afternoon!

 Indecision is like that. It's like a belly-ache deep in the soul.  

As I think back I recognize one simple truth. Typically, my first gut reaction to each choice has always been the best and most true for me and my family.

It's the "following-through" part that I struggle with.... 

I get swayed. Sidetracked. Convinced. Off-kilter. Confused to the point that I can't even recall my first gut reaction.
I want to please and so I stuff down what would please me.
I decide and then re-coil, believing the lie that if one person doesn't agree with what I am doing, it must be the wrong decision.

This pattern is not a weakness of character or a major personality defect. Laboring in a funnel of indecision has become a learned pattern for me.  I'm recognizing I can "reteach", with prayer, myself this skill of making good decisions, of having a "decided heart", one day at a time.

Enter Christian self-help motivator Andy Andrews again.
"The best decisions are made quickly and changed slowly. Bad decisions are made slowly and changed quickly. Go with your gut."
Can you relate?

What kind of decision maker are you? Don't know? Ask those closest to you. Hearing a truthful answer will affect your mothering, your marriage, your friendships and your contentment.

 I'd love to hear your comments below!
More on this topic in my next post....

Blessings, Jodi

PS-I have decided to pick up where I left off (Day 25) in my journey to give God the First Light of my Day. If you are just joining us, I had to take a break from writing for the past two weeks because I am recovering from a major pelvic surgery.
Be sure to scroll down and check out Day 1 "At First Light" below!  
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