My husband retired recently, and this new season has brought along several big decisions. Where shall we live out our golden years? Should we pursue second careers? Which Medicare Part D plan is best? Can we get a dog now?
I’m sure you face similar questions in life. Here are four ways Wendell and I generally make big decisions:
I know that can sound like a cliché. But we really have gotten clear answers straight from God on some of our biggest decisions. For me, it usually comes as I’m praying and reading my Bible. A verse will suddenly zing my heart. “Oh, that’s what we should do!” (Be sure to combine this one with “Seek Counsel.” Taking a Bible verse out of context can cause you to pluck your eye out because it offends you. Don’t do that.)
We are a family of over-sharers. So, it is a simple step for us to talk about things with our grown children, our siblings, our parents, our pastors, and our friends. They bring up some questions we hadn’t considered and point out some advantages we hadn’t seen.
Launch these conversations as actual questions, though. “We are thinking of buying a van and living our retirement on the road. Do you see any problems with that?”
That is different than saying, “We just spent your inheritance on a motorhome. We’ll be in Florida over Christmas. You okay with that?”
Make a List
Making a list of pro’s and con’s is an old standard, but it works. Just remember this exercise isn’t actually about numbers. Ten pros and nine cons doesn’t mean the pros automatically win. Some items carry more weight than others. For us, being near family is a pro that out weighs a combination of cons like the long-distance move, the bad winters, and the change from country life to city-living.
Kick the Doors
Try kicking open some doors, or knocking on them if you are feeling polite. Sometimes, God does guide through circumstances. Should I change jobs? Send out some resumes and see who responds. Should we move to that neighborhood? Call a realtor and ask if any houses are for sale. Is that guy the man of my dreams? Ask a mutual friend to invite him to join your gang for coffee. Or football. Or any place you can start a conversation and get acquainted.
None of these methods are foolproof, of course. We can twist scripture to fit our desires or pull out the “God said” card to silence our counselors. We can list something as a con when it would really be a pro in our life. And, we can kick hard enough sometimes to open the wrong door. But, in general, these methods have worked for us. We are using them now for the grand adventures ahead.
P.S. We aren’t buying a van.