Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Decisions

I work with human beings all the time, and I have observed a phenomenon that involves the workings of what is commonly called the “heart” and how the “heart” interacts with the “mind.” You see it when we try to make decisions. I’m not saying I don’t do it myself sometimes. But it’s very troubling.

It’s like this. There’s almost no way to keep track of what’s being pumped into our hearts and minds in a given day, let alone any extended period of time. Keeping track of and understanding our thinking is hard enough; understanding our feelings is next to impossible. And yet, when making decisions, I've noticed how we often have our minds “made up” long before we even realize it ourselves. A few negative experiences. A few words or suggestions spoken one way or another. A few emotional responses of one kind or another, and vague “decisions” begin to form within us, often uninformed or misguided, but the path is set. The mind or the heart, or both, begin leaning in a certain direction, and it’s at this point that many “decisions” are really made. Neither wisdom nor reason nor a concern for the will of God have much of anything to do with it. It’s too vague for that. It’s more a set of reactive, emotional experiences that begin to shape an attitude about things. And unless something compelling comes along to change the attitude, the beginning of a “decision” is made.

A decision about a person. About a belief. About what is or isn't acceptable. About a job or a situation or maybe even about ourselves and what we can or can’t accomplish.

People decide first. Then, they begin looking for rationalizations and validations. They look for reasons to do what they’ve already decided to do so they can supposedly make the “decision” they’ve already made. And when they arrive at a “decision,” they assume it’s in that moment that they actually "decided."

I know it's confusing, because it's confusing.

Like when a man suddenly "decides" to tell his wife he’s not happy so he’s leaving her and the children for another woman. Like when someone bails on a friendship or a commitment because of some little incident that simply doesn’t add up to bailing. Like when someone blows up in anger at some small thing and berates another person with a long list of what’s wrong with them.
But what’s really happened is, they have finally gotten to the point of resolve, to act on all of the impulses and feelings and intuitions and thoughts they have been experiencing for some period of time. They pour out the feelings and intuitions they’ve been feeding and growing with whatever “facts” they’ve allowed through the filters of their anger or pride or desire. They’ve finally gotten up the nerve to act on a decision they made a long time ago, long before any careful thinking or reasoning had a chance to make any difference at all.

Then we do what we want to do. What we wanted to do, really.

And we have every good reason we could find along the way for doing it.

Jeremiah 17:9
Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011


  1. to someone who's not that into contemplation... this is a whirlwind. and to the contemplative people... it's a whirlwind. :-) however, it is actually well-said and true. but i like to think that from the time the "decision" has been made, to the point of execution, it is sort of an engagement of sorts. the decision could be called off and rethunk. or it won't. sometimes, it should be, and sometimes it shouldn't. just like people getting engaged. some are good decisions... some not so much. but that doesn't mean they see the light, so to speak. anyhoo... very good thoughts to ponder... and ponder i will.

  2. I feel like you wrote this blog specifically for me. What the heck!!??!! This is how I've seen life happen the last year or two. Yep!


All comments are subject to my approval. All profanity and disrespectful comments will be deleted. Be nice or I will pretend you are not there.