College is full of big decisions. What am I going to major in? Who am I going to live with? What should I do with my summer? What job should I take (or can I even find a job)? Who should I marry? As you pray and seek the Lord in your choices, it is helpful to have some guidelines to shape the way you make decisions. Students often incorporate one (or more) of the following frameworks in their decision making process:
- What fits me best? People who take this approach are primarily concerned with how an opportunity suits their strengths and passions. While this is an important component in any decision making process, it often leads to an “open door” philosophy—if a decision fits me well and God opens up the door, then it must mean that is what He wants me to do. But what if there are two or more doors open, which one do you walk through? It is obvious that this approach alone is inadequate. The danger is that it can generate me-centered solutions to your decision making.
- What gets me ahead? People who take this approach are primarily concerned with how an opportunity can propel them to where they want to be. While it is important to consider the long term effects of your decisions, this approach is dangerous if your future goals do not align with what God wants. Before you adopt this philosophy, it is important to assess whether you are asking God to bless your own plans or submitting your future to His desires.
- How can I join what God is doing? People who take this approach are primarily concerned with finding the best opportunity for influencing people and impacting the Kingdom. While the first two options largely focus on how a decision impacts you, this one concentrates on how your choices impact God and what He is doing. When someone operates from this perspective, it refocuses their priorities in a way that helps them honor God with every decision. It deals with the question, what decision is best for the kingdom of God? Approaching decisions from this viewpoint will result in good decisions every time.
Every year, the spring is a time when life altering decisions are made. The question is, whose desires will shape your decisions this year—yours or God’s? Jesus put it simply in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).