We basically are the sum of the choices that we have made over our lifetime. Wisdom is when we choose to do those things that move us toward good character growth, and a growing relationship with Jesus and others, and significant accomplishments in our life. There are millions of choices in our lives, and the number is growing everyday. It can be very overwhelming as we try and figure out what is best for our life. Here are a half dozen guidelines that I have used for a number of years in the choosing process in my life. I actually started making this list way back in 1976 when I was struggling with whether I should stay on the dairy or become a pastor.
(1) Ask God for His wisdom and guidance every morning before you start the day. God loves to give His wisdom to those who ask for it.
(2) take some time and think through what your values and priorities in life are. The goal here is to greatly simplify your life and reduce the number of choices that pop up in your life everyday. It is like if you lived in the wilderness in a little log cabin all by yourself with a bow and arrows, a knife, and an axe. Most of the choices that you are regularly faced with now would never enter your head. Prune your life as much as possible of low value activity, simplify, simplify, simplify and the number of choices will drop off tremendously. spend your time doing the things that result in significant accomplishment.
(3) Don’t make important choices until you have to so you can think, get counsel, and ponder on the results of the various choices once made, but when it is time make the choice decisively, don’t procrastinate.
(4) Get as much counsel as time allows from the wisest, most experienced people you know. Our pride often keeps us from this, but this principle is the bulk of what the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament is teaching. The basic message of Proverbs is, the more counsel you get the less apt you are to make a poor choice.
(5) we are all asked to make many choices that are unimportant, that is it really doesn’t matter much which way we choose. Give those choices away to others. We all tend to be control freaks by nature, that is we want to decide about everything for ourselves and others. Train yourself to stop that by giving most of your choices away. Ask the waiter what he recommends on the menu and go with it. Ask your wife what would be good for you to wear to church. Choosing is very tiring so eliminate all choices from your life but the very important ones, and you will have the mental and emotional energy left to think clearly.
(6) If you make a bad choice and you know it, think about what you should have done and why, think about what prompted you to make the wrong choice, make whatever restitution may be required because of the consequence of the wrong choice, and then forget about it. You can’t literally forget about it but you can choose not to dwell on it and replay it in your mind over and over again.