Torment that Lead to Decision Paralysis
Lately I have been having conversations with friends and with people on social media, the theme that keeps coming up, at least for me, are feelings of uncertainty. I don’t know what is next in life and exactly where I am going. And usually, I am ok with that.
But lately it’s bothered me more than usual. And you would think I would have made friends with uncertainty especially with how my last year and some odd months have gone. It’s been unconventional by any means and I am not where I envisioned myself 5 years ago. I have been living in uncertainty for over a year. Sometimes I get tired of waiting for God to open the next door I am supposed to walk through. I think some of it has to do with the time of the year for me because last year around this time I experienced similar feelings of uncertainty.
I have learned recently that if I choose to play into this feeling uncertainty and not rely on God, it will lead you to a place you don’t want to be. There is a potential decision that I have been mulling over and over again in my head to the point it has become obsessive thoughts and torment. In this decision, there was no right or wrong decision. It’s more like a fork in the road in my life. On one hand, financially it would practically make sense, it would be the more conventional way of doing life. I would have a stable job with benefits and it would be a new career for me. On the other hand, I would be taking the unconventional way in life and it would much riskier financially. I would be doing several different jobs while building my business. I had gone back and forth between doing what is practical or having a flexible schedule. For ever reason I thought I should potentially pursue the job, I had a reason not to. This lead to increased anxiety about the uncertainty feeling I was experiencing and the fear of making a decision I might regret. Which ultimately leads to decision paralysis. I even did a decision tree but because I was in decision paralysis, it did not help me to make a decision. But I kept walking through the open doors while still experiencing the torment in my mind.
One day it occurred to me that God is not a God of torment and obsessive thoughts. This decision essentially had become an idol of indecision in my life. My thoughts and conversations would always somehow lead back to this decision that I needed to make. Once I realized this, I decided to give it to Him and just trust Him for my answer. You would think this is the end of my torment but then I would have moments where I would take it back. And every time I took it back I could feel pain in my back where I carry stress or when I was thinking about making this decision I realized I was clenching my jaw. I also noticed my increase in irritability and less patience.
I realize what I was experiencing was not peace. When I decide to change something in my life, I always look for God’s peace. And I know that I have God’s peace when I know without a shadow without a doubt of what I am supposed to do. I become stubborn and no one can change my mind other than God.
I realized that the answer that I was looking for was there all along and that I needed to pay attention to the cues that I was being given. There are some things that I learned or was reminded of in this.
- I have learned that God is not a God of torment! He is a God of peace and He will give you peace when it is the right place to be.
- I have also learned to pay attention to my body. This is something a coach taught me. To see how your body reacts to the thing you are thinking or talking about. Your body will give you clues on what is right or wrong for you. I think it is amazing that God created our bodies this way to give us clues.
- This is something that I knew before but I was reminded again in this situation is that I need to check my feelings. I gave my feelings of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety too much power. I was already feeling some of these emotions before this decision. When we give our feelings too much power, we are often deceived and manipulated. Sometimes our feelings are not representing truth. Sometimes they are representing a lie we believe. This is why our feelings need to be matched with the truth.
- I also was reminded and it is ok to embrace uncertainty while not having to figure something out to solve this feeling. Too often I try to fix, solve, or ignore my feelings. God gave me feelings when He created me. I have not found anything in the Bible that asks us to fix, solve, or ignore our feelings.
- When I gave into this feeling of uncertainty, it lead me to other emotions. First, the fear of regret with possibly making the wrong decision. Second, to the anxiety of having to make a decision which lead me to obsessive thoughts. This all lead to decision paralysis for me. Which lead me to tormenting myself with trying to make the right decision.
- I learned that you can make an idol out of trying to make the right decision. Because this decision was what I thought about all the time, it is where I would lead conversations with friends and family. I wanted their take on what I should do. Thankfully they did not tell me what to decide. Rather they challenged me to seek God in what I should do.
- I learned again that it is okay to make a decision based on where God wants me to go and what is right for me rather than seeking the approval of what other people thought I should do. And being ok when others give opinions about what you should do or your life even if it is are opposite of what they think I should be doing whether it is the financially stable or financially more risky decision. This is my life, not their life.
- I was reminded again that when I have feelings of anxiety and fear, take some time to rest. I mean truly rest not escape. We all have something(s) that we use to escape life and the things we are facing. For me true rest could be that I spend some time with family/friends, serving others, spend some time alone, write, do something in nature, meditate, or listen to some music. When I truly rest and not escape, it takes my mind off of my feelings and places it on my Creator or something He has created to enjoy.
Here are a few questions to ponder to think about in your life. Have experienced decision paralysis because you gave the feelings you are/were feeling too much power? Do you have trouble deciphering what is truth and a lie in your life especially when it comes to your feelings? Are you always second-guessing your decisions because you don’t trust yourself to make the right decision?