The summer when I was twelve, my father surprised my younger sister and me by announcing that he had a different plan for our summer holiday. Instead of planning our vacation, he gave us the money that he had set aside and let us decide what to do with it. We could save it, spend it as we pleased, or use it for a five-day vacation at the lake. After some discussion and prayer, my sister and I told Dad that we wanted to go on the lakeside vacation.
But immediately after making the decision, I felt a cloud of doubt descend. Suppose I had not made the best choice? Perhaps the money would have been better spent on something else? Then a series of severe typhoons and family emergencies forced us to delay our vacation until the next summer, which added fuel to my worries. Maybe this was all too much hassle?
When I voiced my feelings to Dad, he assured me that while I was free to change my mind, fears and doubts were a natural part of making decisions. “Just because you feel uncertain doesn’t mean you’ve made the wrong choice,” he said. Encouraged by his words, I decided to wait and trust God to work everything out in His time. Sure enough, a year later we were enjoying the time of our lives at the lake!
But I brought home more than happy memories and mementos; the experience taught me important lessons that have since helped me many times when I faced bigger and more important decisions with higher stakes.
I learned that hardly any decision can be made without taking a risk; yet being willing to take that risk is crucial to arriving at a wise choice. Having difficulty reaching a decision—and feeling worried or uncertain about it afterwards—is natural, and a wild storm of emotions is not an indication that I should not have made the voyage or that my boat will sink. God is both my anchor and my compass. I can trust Him to not only steady me but to also guide me to His perfect destination, as His Word promises: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”1