September 7, 2011 // Uncategorized

Inspirations for decision-filled times

Michael, my second son and a recent college graduate, moved to Wilmington, N.C., last month to begin his new job. In the months prior he had a difficult decision to make. He had been considering going to law school and had studied for and taken the LSAT exam.

His scores put him nicely in the “highly desired” applicant category, and he had many acceptances and even offers for his tuition to be paid. But then came the job offer for the company at which he now works. The deal included inclusion in a highly regarded financial management program with a Fortune 500 company — a great career with a nice salary in uncertain financial times.

Many said Mike was in a great position — choosing between good and good. And he was. But to him, that didn’t make the decision any easier. He thought, considered, prayed, and made what I think was a great decision, but it wasn’t easy.

Just a little over a month later, Mike and I were talking on the phone.

Hurricane Irene was headed straight for Wilmington, and being an Indiana boy, he wasn’t used to hurricane warnings. He was trying to determine what prudent action was versus overreaction. Should he leave or should he stay?

This time I joined in the prayers for his choice. As it turned out, he taped up his windows, pulled his furniture off his ground floor bedroom and headed with his roommate to Duke in Durham, N.C., which was a nice 60 miles inland.

The storm passed. He was safe. It was another good decision.

Life is full of decisions. In this column, I’d simply like to share a few thoughts that have inspired me over the years when facing them. And maybe you’ll find them helpful if you are in the position to help others make important decisions too.

• When big decisions loom before you and you feel overwhelmed with options, project yourself in the future and look at the present as past. Which decision do you feel most comfortable with?

Take it in prayer and leave it at our Lord’s feet. (Eucharistic Adoration is great for this!) Ask Him for direction and clarity. Then let it go. The answer will come to you. It may not always be what you want to hear, but you will have peace.

• “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; In all your ways be mindful of Him, and He will make straight your paths.” — Prv 3:5-6

• “But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.” — Jas 1:5

• “And we have this confidence in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked Him for is ours.” — 1 Jn 5:14-15

Finally, I will add a few facts that you probably already know, but might want to be reminded of concerning decision making.

• God already knows what you need before you ask. Trust He will take care of you. Offer the stress you feel back to Him as a gift of trust.

• Many people find it difficult to work in a cluttered room. They feel distracted, unsettled and the need to clean. Likewise, many people find it difficult to make good decisions with a “dirty” soul. Going to Confession can clean things up spiritually and make us all more capable of making clear and good decisions.

• Jesus gives Himself in the Holy Eucharist. This is His real Body, His true Blood. If Jesus was standing down at the corner café, we’d be rushing to meet Him, wouldn’t we? We’d seek His counsel there and not think twice about interrupting our daily routine to go to Him. Likewise, when faced with a difficult decision, we should go Mass and receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. God’s grace and indeed His Self is available if we only seek Him.

Big decisions are a part of life, but we don’t have to face them alone. We can minimize stress by handling them with faith and trust in God. Remind yourself that nothing is too big for God to handle. Choose your favorite inspirational Bible quote and stick it in a conspicuous spot. Then head to church, because the answer is always there.

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