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May 10, 2010

Decide to be Decisive

Being a real man will mean that you develop the ability and willingness to make decisions. Being decisive, when necessary and after appropriate reflection, is an admirable and useful trait in a man. As husbands, fathers, and leaders in our churches and communities, it will be something expected of you.  Your failure to be decisive when called upon can cause you (and others) great difficulties.

Women want a man who’s not afraid to make a decision. Girls like dating a guy who can pick a good restaurant on his own and wives sometimes need their husbands to take responsibility for family decisions. Children find security in knowing that someone’s ultimately in charge in their family, even if they don’t always agree with every decision made. Workers and citizens will follow a decisive leader acting with confidence and commitment. And God calls for men of action who will decide, then go. Every prophet, king, and apostle in the Bible was called to make a decision for God and then move into action with resolve.

So why do so many men flounder and fail to make decisions, even when they are asked to? I believe there are two reasons that account for most of the indecisiveness in men – fear of failure and a desire to be nice.

Most of us men have a deep seated fear of failure. We don’t always admit it and it varies in intensity from man to man, but most of us try pretty hard not to mess up in front of others. Because of this, we often see decisions as yet another opportunity to be wrong. What if I pick Applebee’s and everyone really wanted to go to Friday’s? What if I buy her a necklace and she really wanted a bracelet? What if I tell my daughter that she can’t date that boy with the mohawk and then she rebels even worse?

For Christian men, the desire to be nice and accommodating might paralyze us even more than the fear of being wrong. We’ve been taught in the church not to make waves, to be considerate to all, to put others before ourselves. When we’re married or dating, this gets reinforced even further, as we’re taught and encouraged to love our wives sacrificially, “as Christ loved the church."  Of course, these are all biblical teachings and not wrong in themselves. But many of us nice guys have failed our wives by allowing those sentiments to keep us from being leaders in our relationships. We may think that constantly telling our wives things like “Whatever you want dear” and “I don’t care honey, wherever you want to go” may be nice and thoughtful. In reality, these words of indecision may often leave our precious wives feeling unsure, unprotected, and uncared for. They may end up viewing their own husbands as the type of indecisive, unsure man described in James 1:6-8.
...the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Think I’m making too much of this? Still not sure what’s wrong with a man letting others decide everything or making no decisions at all? Can’t see how letting your wife make all the important decisions could be anything but undemanding and nice? From my personal experience, I can tell you that there can be a great cost to being indecisive and weak. In large part because of decisions I failed to make, failed to stick to, or failed to make in time, I lost the respect and submission of my first wife, I allowed my sons to go down a path leading to shallow ungodly lives, and I brought misery and heartache upon myself that still burdens me to this day.

So am I telling men to make all the decisions, control everyone around them, and insist on their way all the time? Am I encouraging men to make rash decisions and snap judgments without thinking or seeking other’s guidance? Of course I’m not.

Before a godly man makes any decision of consequence, he should first do all of the following:
Then, after you’ve prayed, thought it through, asked others for advice, and submitted your will to God’s – get off the fence, make a decision, and take action!

And by the way, in case you think you can somehow avoid failure or disappointing others by not making a decision, just remember the Rush song which tells us, “And if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”  There’s still a cost to not deciding, since you’re essentially deciding to keep things exactly the same by doing nothing.

The Greek historian Thucydides once considered the courage required to make tough decisions and then to act on them. He wrote “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”

So Christian men, size up what’s before you, man up and make a decision, then go out and face the world with confidence. Better to be decisive and risk being wrong than to remain ineffective and paralyzed by indecision.

1 comment:

  1. Very well put, I also really liked the finishing quote from Thucydides. I am preparing a message on decisiveness and stumbled across your post. Thanks for sharing, it has proven to be a good inward reflection before I can move forward with my preparation.