You could easily pick us out from the crowd that Friday night. We were the ones who looked exhausted and a little dazed, like we’d been through the wringer. Several of us looked at each other and said, shaking our heads, “Did you ever dream, a week ago, that we’d be here today?”
We were just a group of mamas who had been faced with a sudden decision to make, and we each, for our own reasons, made it. Should we keep our daughters at their current gym, or switch to the gym across the road? We decided to switch.
Seemed like a small enough issue. Shouldn’t really cause much upheaval. Surely no reason for tears or sleepless nights.
Then why did we all look and feel as though we’d been beat up? Like we hadn’t slept much all week, and like we had indeed shed quite a few tears?
Because decisions are so often much more than just the surface decision. This one was no different. After my husband and I had talked and talked and talked it out and finally decided that yes, now was the time for us to make the sudden switch, I felt a sense of dread that was as big or bigger than the sense of “rightness” that I felt at the same time.
Because I knew this decision would affect more people than just us. The new gym would have to adjust to a whole group of girls coming in at the same time. My girls would have to adjust to new coaches, new teammates, new ways of doing things. My family would have a new schedule. Hardest of all, the people at the gym we were leaving would not understand, and would be very hurt by our decision. Even though I truly felt like this was the best call, and the best time to make the call, it was an excruciating call to make.
And isn’t that the way life is?
Sure, there are decisions that carry little to no risk or consequences. When my daughter asks if she can wear her brown shoes when I had her tennis shoes in mind, there isn’t really much weight that rests on that decision. Go right ahead, daughter. It doesn’t really matter.
But so many decisions aren’t like that. As parents, maybe especially as moms, we can agonize and worry and analyze whether we’re doing the right thing for our kids or whether we’re about to totally ruin them for life.
What if switching gyms turned out to be a huge mistake? Once we made the call, there would be no going back. The bridge to our former gym would be burned. What if my girls hated it? What if we hurt people irreparably? What if there were consequences I couldn’t even dream up to worry about?
What if? What if? What if?
And even once I was convinced that it was best for my kids, I came very close to talking myself out of it because the pain of knowing I would hurt people I genuinely cared about was just too great.
So how do we handle the fear that we’re going to get it wrong? How do we handle the knowledge that our choices may cause great hurt to people that we had no intention of hurting? How do we stop analyzing, stop “what-if-ing”, stop worrying, and decide?
Do we just close our eyes and jump?
The only thing we can do, to have peace with these decisions we have to make in life, is to go to the Source of all Wisdom, who gives generously to all without reproach, and ask Him for wisdom, and it will be given us, if we ask in faith. (James 1:5-6)
We ask God, Wisdom Himself, to give us the wisdom we desperately need to parent our children, and to walk through life in general.
My husband, during the course of his life and ministry career, has wisely counseled many people, myself included, this way: When you are trying to discern God’s will for you in a certain situation, walk very closely with Him. Focus on Him. Listen for His voice. Spend time in His word, lots of time. And then, when you are walking right in step with Him, do what you believe is right.
This is what we did. It doesn’t mean we had some guarantee that this definitely was the right course of action. In life, we rarely get that kind of guarantee. But we don’t walk through life by guarantees. We walk through life by faith.
Of course, that wisdom, that faith, is available only through Christ. Without Christ, the best we really can do is indeed just close our eyes and jump and hope for the best.
And sometimes, that’s what it feels like anyway. But stepping out in a faith rooted in Christ promises a foundation on which to land, even if the decision you are making ends up–through His greater plan–seeming like it was the wrong one after all. Sometimes He allows us to make “wrong decisions” or allows painful results from a “right decision” because He’s using it all to work for our greater good in a way we can’t see right now.
Time will tell whether switching gyms was the right decision. It’s over and done with now. My girls are happy. The schedule is much better for us. It looks like it’s going to work out for the best, but I still have huge regrets over some of the results of our decision.
So here’s what I cling to, even when the outcome is still unknown: God promised Israel, who had willfully and repeatedly made wicked decision after wicked decision, that He knew the plans He had for them, plans to prosper them and give them a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) And if He uses deliberate wickedness in His good purposes, He will surely be able to work all things for the eternal good of those who love Him and are genuinely, earnestly trying to make good, wise decisions. (Romans 8:28) Even when we, as we inevitably will, make mistakes.
I can go forward in peace, not because I know for sure my decision was absolutely right, but because I trust who I’m following. He will use our decision as He does what is best for me, for my girls, and for all those who were affected when we switched gyms.
So we walk forward. And…we bought new t-shirts.