"Not This!"

I was talking with a friend today about how to make difficult decisions.

I must be very naive, but I had thought, that is, I was under the impression, that once you got past the biggies (prom dress—strapless or sleeves?) that the process got easier.

I’d thought there might be a point at which you could sort of turn on the cruise control and take a little break, that the road signs would be clearer and the “right decision” more easily identifiable.

Well, add that one to The List of Misimpressions Amy Had About Life.

To my credit, I thought I’d read something about that in the Bible somewhere. At least that’s what they told us in high school youth group (God will show you the right decision . . . all the time . . . in every circumstance . . . almost like magic!). However, I must confess that almost nothing about adult decision-making has seemed to me to be easy, fun, or, most of all, obvious.

My husband would explain this phenomenon by telling you my problem lies in the fact that very little in my decision-making process is logical. That is, I have to figure out how the decision FEELS in order to make a definitive choice.

Thank goodness the friend with whom I was talking today totally understood my strange approach. She described it this way: “You know, sometimes you can say ‘Not This!’. Of course you don’t know exactly which way to go when that happens, but saying ‘Not This!’ narrows it down.”

I know the technical term for this mode of thinking is “process of elimination”. Very different (I know from living with Mark) from making a list of logical, factual evidence, carefully weighing that evidence then deciding the most sensible course of action.

I already know myself well enough to know I can’t make a chart of factual points. However, I realized today that I can usually say, “Not This!” with a certain amount of clarity, at least some of the time. My friend’s affirmation helped me see that, even if I don’t always know the right step to take, it’s something to be able to declare with conviction: “Not This!

This is not the first time in my life I’ve pondered the tricky task of decision-making.

I started to think I’d been under a mistaken impression about decisions getting easier and all that, oh, about midway through my twenties. Among the many and increasing decisions that come with adult and parenthood, we were at one point faced with a very difficult decision that involved two good options.

I called my friend and preaching professor, Hardy Clemons, to whine about the predicament in which I found myself. Which decision was the RIGHT decision? What course of action was GOD’S WILL? Hardy chuckled and said to me, “Well, isn’t that great!?! Looks to me like God’s inviting you to voice an opinion about the direction of your life. I love when that happens!”

(Yeah, thanks for the help, there, Hardy.)

So as I muddle my way through young adulthood into (gulp!) middle age, I’m beginning to have the sneaky suspicion that it doesn’t, in fact, always get easier. (“Which retirement community should I move into?,” for example. Already the question is nagging.)

But today I added another tool to my arsenal of decision making weapons. I can, very often, say with conviction: “Not This!” and maybe, by saying that, I move just a little closer to “This! Yes! This!”. That would be great, wouldn’t it?

So today I am thinking this might be the case. Yes, I think so. Or maybe not . . . I just can’t decide . . . .

5 Comments on “"Not This!"

  1. Hi Amy

    Witch witch the switch. I switch.

    Is it Potato or Patoto.

    Should I be good or bad?

    The joy of audlt hold. Can you say… or sorry that you have to do that. Can we say life is a dice. That we my have a snake eye every time.

    Even it the Lords will but in the mean time. If he can speak: “Will you make up your mind already.”

    Even there more in this words I said. Can you almost see some meaning. Give it a momint of thinking. And Amy I’m three month older then you. I’m not claming my time of middle age already. Please don’t push me in a retirement community.

    We’ll don’t worry Amy. It not like they will kill you if you make the wrong diecision. If all fails… Tell them the chack is in the mail.

    Try to have some joy. You can’t uncrack an egg. So make breafast instead. Even you don’t like the teast of it at lease you did it your own way.

    You’re Friend

  2. I had a dear friend tell me two things: the path of life is lined with questions only God was meant to answer and second…how blessed are you to be able to have choices…

    i dunno…is it better to sit in the boat alittle while longer…can’t we just stay up the tree…walk in the dessert with our tribe…what is it in us that compels us to make a choice…I am determined that is Christ…and while he is in all options..

  3. Hardy Clemons was interim pastor at our church a couple years ago. One of the wisest men I’ve ever met. You can’t go wrong following his advice.

  4. I’ve found that when I narrow it down to the two best options flipping a coin usually works pretty well.

  5. Well, being blessed (or as I sometimes feel, cursed) with the analytical mind I have, I usually do as Mark does, and carefully weigh the factual evidence in support of each option available. I also tend to spend considerable time brainstorming new and less evident options, and then asking myself “why shouldn’t I do it this way?”

    Even so, I heartily agree that being able to narrow things down by saying “Not this!” is a very useful tool in decision making. It allows you to consider in detail the things that are really options. And yes, technically, that is the “process of elimination”, and it works just as well with decision making (as far as I can tell, at least) as it does with multiple choice tests.

    And when it comes down to two options left, I have to agree with Chuck that sometimes flipping a coin is best.

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