Friday, January 27, 2006

Handy Dandy Decision Making Sheet-O-Rama!

[NOTE: this is a very abbreviated version of a one hour talk I give; most often to teens or young adults. Use, abuse, edit, or toss as you like. As with everything I do, this isn't copyrighted and you don't have to credit me. Or blame me. Sorry there isn't room to do all the stories that go with this. They're a hoot and a half, sometimes even approaching the rare and elusive double-hoot]

Our lives are a series of decisions. We often fail to make the right decisions because:
1. We think it is possible to make NO decision (but that is, itself, a decision).
2. We adopt the world's standards/definitions of right, wrong, success, etc.
3. We allow others to make the decisions for us.
4. We have never fully committed to God. We claim to be married to Him but we are
flirting with the world.

We need to realize:
1. Every action has a consequence -- now or later. So does every decision.
2. What one person does affects another and another... in a real sense it is NOT your
life, for one life is every life.
3. You don't have to play the world's game. You can opt out of its corporate insanity.

Here are the questions.

Why Do I Want To Do This?
Who -- in the world -- is influencing me? Are they who I want to be? Are they where I want
to end up? Is getting there worth the cost? What are the long term results of being like

Who -- in the spirit -- is influencing me? (Remember Ephesians 6:10-12. Take it seriously)
Am I making this decision with a full understanding that we are not alone and that the
devil has a plan for my life?

Are my reasons for wanting to do this reasonable, valid, and Christian? Could I argue this
before the throne of God? (try it with an empty chair!)

Is This True To God's Dream For Me?

Would Christ be comfortable with this? Would He make the same decision if He were here
with me now? Will doing this advance the cause of Christ or hurt it? Will this violate His
call for me to be distinctly different from the rebellious people of earth? Will doing this
take me where Jesus wants me to go?

What Kind of Place is This?

What kind of environment is it? Conducive for what? Who will control it? Can I control
myself? What is my track record? Can I hear the word 'no'? Could I take Jesus there?

Fashion, Music, Life
Am I looking for the limits? Is my Christianity limited to what is absolutely necessary and
no more? Am I looking to get closer to Jesus or as far away as legally possible (and still
be saved!). Who influenced my choice? Who is behind the advertisement or media push?
Is that influence for my good or theirs?

Am I disguising my Christianity? What am I programming into my mind (thoughts become attitudes which then become actions)? Is that where I want my life to go?

When I pick friends for my life's team, who will I pick first? Where will Jesus come in that

It's all about decisions. Those of us who have put on Christ in baptism have the promised help of His Spirit when we face decisions -- big and small. We also have the right to hand over the decision making process to Him. Whew! That's a relief!


At 1/28/2006 09:18:00 AM , Blogger Karen said...

Great outline... I can definitely see using it with a youth group.

I've never heard anyone else say "hoot and a half" before. Now I know it's not something I just invented.

At 1/28/2006 11:46:00 AM , Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Thanks, Patrick -

Those are great questions. Perfect. I sure wish ministers and those working with the teenagers had been around to work with and direct us with those questions when I was a teen. I think it would have made a huge difference in my life and saved me from literally years of heartache and terrible consequences that resulted from my life as a teen.

Terri Thompson emailed me a couple of days ago to remind me you are coming down to Jennings and DeRidder in several days and inviting me to come over. I wrote her back, catching up a bit, and told her, possibly, I might be able to come over to meet you and hear you and meet the Thompsons and other Christians there.

I go back to the doctor on Mon. Feb. 6 to see about my foot (it will have been nine weeks) and I'm so hoping the bone has mended enough that I can be back on my feet (even in the boot) and out and about again on my own.

We'll see.

I'm going to print out these questions and give them to our youth minister at Tammany Oaks and also to my older grandkids. Thanks. (With proper credit to you. As the forever journalist married to a newspaper publisher and as an attorney, I strongly believe in proper attribution.)


At 1/28/2006 02:37:00 PM , Blogger Keith Brenton said...

It was all going swell until the empty chair started to argue back at me.

At 1/28/2006 03:42:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

Nah... the real problem is when you LOSE the argument....

At 1/28/2006 06:37:00 PM , Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Patrick -

You WOULD have to bring up losing the argument. I'm guilty of that a lot more than I like to admit. And I'm not even (by far) a teen anymore. So - do you have a companion decision making sheet (or can you throw one together real quick) for us aging baby boomers, perhaps? Although, about 99% of your handy dandy sheet already gave me great pause and forced me to turn around here and face the empty chair across from me.

I guess I'd better keep talking to it while going through your questions and answering them honestly. Can't think of anything "better" I've got to do at the moment and it may change the course of those thoughts floating around in my head you talked about before they turn into attitudes (that's where I think us "oldsters" need some help with - forming most of them took place long ago, don't you think?) and then actions.

It's a slippery slope and SO easy to get side tracked still. Every time. Just when I think I've got it all conquered and under control and out of my life for the duration. And that's me sitting here at home, too! Man that's bad.

Anybody out there identify at all? Or am I the only "bad egg" in many ways in the basket? Just wondering.

At 1/29/2006 09:04:00 AM , Blogger Billy D said...

Patrick - Great stuff. (As usual) I'm going to lay this out to my 16 year old later. Thanks for this.

At 1/30/2006 10:20:00 AM , Blogger David U said...

You shoulda sent this to me earlier.....say 30 years or so ago!

Great stuff, bro!

At 2/13/2006 02:23:00 PM , Blogger Kari said...

I appreciate your wisdom. I'm not very good at making choices--good or bad. This really gives me something to think about when things come up.


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