Sometimes I have a hard time making big decisions. I continue to hold onto a very strong fear of commitment that keeps me from going down a certain road – what if I miss something better and more fulfilling over there? Maybe I should wait until something better comes along. It’s easier to ruminate over the possibilities than to choose one direction. I don’t want to give anything up to choose something else.
I see this quality in my children, my husband, and sometimes my friends – and it drives me crazy! Let’s get moving, I want to say. Make up your mind. CHOOSE.
Lest anyone consider that sensitivity and compassion are not traits that one would readily use to describe me, I have to say that I get it. Despite the frustration of waiting around while someone else makes a choice, I get their hesitation, their uncertainty. When my son tries one new activity after another and deems none of them quite as exciting as sitting on the sofa with his game console, when my husband insists on yet another shopping excursion to look at gas grills, when our family talks and talks about buying new furniture or taking a trip to Disney World or going to a concert together, and instead do none of it, I get it. Decisions are hard to make. We don’t know how any of them will turn out. We don’t know if we will do the right thing.
Giving up one kind of life to pursue another is one of the hardest things we have to do. Sometimes it seems easier to continue where we are instead of change our course. Quitting a job, exiting a relationship, or moving from one city to another, especially if the decision is unnecessary or possibly dangerous, is scary. We move from the known to the unknown. We don’t know what’s over the horizon, and it could be filled with obstacles and pain.
Before I really knew Jesus, I remember feeling this way about a Christian lifestyle. People who were more religious were different somehow. Their lives were filled with things that just weren’t for me. Praying out loud, spending more than the required Sunday morning at church helping out, reading the Bible, associating with other church people. These perceived differences were enough to keep me away from getting sucked into that major life transformation. What if I become more religious and am forced to give up everything? How will I know how to navigate such a drastic change? It was easier to stay right where I was.
The funny thing is, when I made the decision to make Jesus a part of my life, it wasn’t a huge one at all. It sort of just happened. Jesus waited until I was in the perfect spot in my life to reveal himself to me, and I walked through the door of his church with open eyes and an open heart. It didn’t seem like such a big change after all. I didn’t give anything up, not really. More was added to my life than was taken away when I decided to read the Bible, pray, and hang out at church with other church people. God knew how to make the decision easier for me. He knows that I would have resisted a stronger arm, hidden from a thunder clap of realization.
God can do this for all of us – he knows our tendencies, our personalities – and he uses the way he made us to bring us around to him. He might bang some of us over the head with his truth, or ease us into his Kingdom through small twists in life circumstances. Resting in his arms is what we are made for, so when we make the decision to follow his lead, it’s no surprise that it just feels right, like we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
And not like we are giving up anything at all.
Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.
A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father. Matthew 4:18-22 (The Message)