September 1, 2015 Riley

How can you decide on something in life having doubts, fears, and questions about what to choose or why you need to choose it?  This is the golden question and I think there is a universal answer for everyone.  My two previous DECISION MAKING articles, Part 1 and Part 2 discuss our connection to a Higher Power that guides and directs us.  Often times we don’t want to act on what we feel.  Call those “feelings” intuition, a hunch, a gut feeling, or personal revelation from God, either way we all experience it.  It can be difficult to follow your heart on certain things because there is a battle between choosing A or B because A is comfortable and B is uncomfortable. Human beings have a hard time being vulnerable.  We want real substantial evidence.  The feeling of vulnerability is a big pill to swallow for lots of people.  Back to the question asked above, how can you make a decision and at the same time not have all the answers upfront?

If you are a believer in a Higher Power, then you can attribute those thoughts and feelings to act to your Deity.  If not you can attribute them to your natural intuition.  We can all agree that we experience a “gut feeling” and it often leads to good things.  Have you had that thought or feeling to do something specific? Have you ever done the opposite causing negative results?  Or vice versa?  Have you sat back and waited for your life to work itself out for you?  Are you afraid of vulnerability?  Guess what I have done all of these at some point in my life.  It isn’t an uncommon happening.  The keys to make a decision is simple, it’s to decide then act.  How simple is that?  Now the essential component to make this engine go is to fuel it with faith.  Faith is many things to many people.  To  me faith means to constantly and consistently progress toward a desired goal without knowing the happenings along the way nor the eventual outcome.  A personal example would be this, I have faith that at the end of my life I will be able to live again with my family and keep progressing to eternal perfection.  That is strictly religious but it is just one of many things I have faith in.  You can have faith that your boss will promote you if you work hard enough.  You can have faith that your kids will be healthy when they grow up.  You can have faith that you will become a teacher.  You can have faith in yourself, in others, in God, in man, in whatever you choose.  Faith should be looked at more like and action rather than a state of mind or being.

Faith requires action or your faith isn’t being exercised to its fullest.  If you are sitting in a canoe and you have your two oars, one is labeled with an A and the other is labeled with an F.  The A stands for action and the F stands for faith.  When you row with only the A oar invariably you will go in a circle, the same goes for the F oar. It is necessary to row with both A and F to move forward.  You will need to have faith and actions to progress in life.  That little analogy is something I learned when I was serving a LDS mission in Bogotá, Colombia.  The decision to serve a mission was a tough one lined with many challenges and obstacles.  I felt vulnerable and inadequate to go.  I was only a member of the LDS church for a mere year before leaving.  It turned out that my decision to go was the best thing I could have ever done in my entire life.  What would have been my outcome if I didn’t go?  What if I didn’t have the actions to compliment my faith?  I would not be where I am today, nor would I be as happy and content with my life.  There was one ingredient to faith that helped me go and eventually finish my two years in Colombia.  This ingredient gives power to faith and it is hope.

Hope is simply what faith looks forward to.  If faith didn’t have hope, faith would quit after the first quarter.  Hope drives one to keep going.  If many start-up companies didn’t have hope then they would have tanked in the beginning stages.  Hope grounds us to our foundation of faith.  Hope will allow for a decision to be made and to keep your decision in mind without turning back.  When you finally decide to act, hope will be your best friend.  Hope will allow your faith to shine.  The dynamic duo of faith and hope are the main catalysts in our decision-making process, they come in when it counts.  We can dream and aspire but when it comes time to act we don’t have anything but faith and hope to pull us through.  When you are surrounded by darkness and all you are is a little flame trying to light the room, you’ll experience discouragement.  Faith and hope will keep your flame burning till you can shine.  Elder Jeffery R. Holland said this about faith, “The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.” (Lord, I Believe)

I promise when the decision is made to act half of the battle is won.  The other half is the hard part, to act and “look forward with an eye of faith” (Alma 5:15).  Hope will allow your faith to endure to the end and see that the end goal is met.  The end goal is not known from the beginning it is solely hoped for.  You may not achieve the goal hoped for but the acquired outcome will be what another Power wanted.  And that is how you’ll know you’re divinely guided.


“Faith is much more than a blind ‘I believe’, rather, it’s a calm firm action with a hopeful heart.” -Riley Nielsen