“I don’t know what to do. I just know what I can do.” (James T. Kirk, Star Trek)
The best way to become overwhelmed with decisions, to experience Decision Fatigue, comes through doing absolutely nothing to prevent it. People who consistently make good decisions and maintain consistent self-control structure their lives to conserve willpower (i.e., their decision-making energy). In other words, they employ habits that allow for consistent regulation of decisions.
Scripture has a lot to say about decision making to help each one of us make better decisions and better direct our decision-making energy.
1. Develop a habit of preparedness. (Matthew 24:44)
Preparedness requires spending regular time with the Father and learning his will. It means letting the Holy Spirit guide and direct decisions. Preparedness also involves taking care of the physical self, which helps maintain a long-term focus instead of being driven by immediate needs.
2.) Simplify. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Many of us become overwhelmed because of unnecessarily complicated and heavy lives. Simplifying means automating where possible and releasing where necessary. Very few things are truly mandatory, things we actually have to do. Decide non-negotiables, then use energy for bigger decisions.
3.) Learn to say “no.” (Luke 10:41-42)
We don’t have to accept every opportunity presented. In fact, opportunities often distract from God’s desire for us. Many of our decisions involve deciding among good, better, and best, not between good and bad. Jesus emphasized this when he said that what Martha wanted to do wasn’t bad, but what Mary chose was better. Know “How to Make Consistent Progress” by focusing on your purpose as Jesus did, and you’ll have a clear idea of what to say “no” to and what to accept by way of opportunity.
Jethro advised Moses to delegate, so Moses wouldn’t get worn out and the people frustrated. The disciples needed to delegate in order to focus on their roles and still ensure needs were met. The concept of the body of Christ tells us we all have our own work to do, which also tells us some decisions just aren’t ours to make. We must allow others to fully do their parts too.
5.) Refuse to second guess. (Matthew 4:18-22)
Just as the disciples did when Jesus called them into ministry, make the best decision you can and fully commit to it. Second guessing wears you and your ability to make good decisions — or any decisions at all — down.
6.) Develop an eternal focus. (Psalm 61:2)
Developing an eternal focus involves prioritizing toward that which benefits eternally rather than just temporally. It means getting our focus off self and off what satisfies only in this world and onto our creator who knows what is best for us.
Overcoming Decision Fatigue
The path to overcoming and preventing Decision Fatigue requires unique steps for each individual, yet all can apply the same biblical concepts. For every person that means…
- Examining hearts and removing idols of self-reliance.
- Learning to say “no” to good and trusting God’s leading toward best.
- Consulting with God regularly.
- Being intentional about self-care.
- Setting boundaries.
- Living within God’s will.
- Living in community.
Overwhelmed with Starting
Sometimes, starting is the hardest part. Taking the first step — even just knowing what that step is — can be so overwhelming. Let that overwhelm draw you to Christ and to his power. Remember that the resurrection of the dead revealed God’s unsurpassable power, and that we have access to that same power (Ephesians 1:19-20).
Ask God where to start. Ask Him how to become less overwhelmed with decision-making. Let Him gradually lead you to a place of focus where you feel his peace and where you can live with joy and effectiveness rather than in overwhelm.