It’s a case of too many choices, and it can lead to paralysis.

Have you ever taken a four-year old to a toy store and told them to pick one item? Hours and much frustration later, you leave with something randomly pulled from the shelf and tear streaks on your little one’s face, neither one of you happy.

We live in a world of abundance, of options, and many of them good. God-honoring. With so many possibilities, it’s easy to become paralyzed.

Some become so flustered, they jump on the easiest or loudest option. Only to find themselves stuck in something that doesn’t quite fit or wasn’t God’s will.

So how do we choose? Is God all that concerned with these minute details of our lives, or is He simply pleased when we’re seeking to live for Him?

Yes and yes.

Sometimes His guidance is quite detailed and clear. There’ve been numerous times when God’s nudged me to write that article or approach that person or start that ministry. There’ve been other times, many, when He’s simply nudged me forward. And then there were many other times when God asks me (often, via divine silence) to wait.

So how can we tell the difference? When bombarded with options, and most of them good, how can we possibly, confidently, determine God’s will?

In Philippians 1:9-11 Paul told the Philippians he wanted their love to abound in knowledge and discernment so they could approve (or test) those things that were excellent. Not just good or beneficial, but excellent.

Chuck Smith says, “Good enough is often the greatest enemy of the best.”

Daily, we’re each bombarded with a plethora of “good.” There are more ministries than we could possibly serve in. More causes than we have dollars to support. More options than we may feel equipped to sift through, knowing that to choose one is, in essence, to say no to another.

And so we wait. Pray. Seek wise counsel. Pray again. Wait some more.

Sometimes waiting is good. Necessary, especially if we take that time to draw near to God and grow in Him.

And yet, that waiting can feel incredibly uncomfortable, not because we’re in a hurry for hurry’s sake but rather because we fear we’ll miss something if we don’t act right now.

But God’s rarely in a hurry, and if something’s that crucial for us to jump on, He’ll let us know. He longs to lead us even more than we long to be led. That’s where trust comes in, and our trust often grows in the midst of uncertainty.

Other times, God presents us with numerous excellent options, and like a loving and gracious Father, smiles and says, “You choose, my love.”

And still other times, though many good choices might confront us, only one of those is God’s best for us. I’ve been praying over some options, a future direction. This spring, I’ll complete a Christian ministry degree, I’m asking: What now? Do I find employment in a church or a nonprofit? Full time or part time? And how would either impact my current responsibilities and marriage?

In determining which is which, here are some questions we can consider:

  1. Which best fits my unique personality?
  2. Which am I  uniquely equipped for?
  3. What best fits my availability (without causing undue stress)?
  4. Which would most bless those I love?
  5. Which would most fit the message God has given me?

I’ve found, if I’ve prayerfully weighed the above questions and still feel uncertain, I’m likely in the “wait” phase and am struggling with surrender or I don’t like the answers God’s revealed.

What about you? How do you discern the best from the good? How do you move forward (or wait) with confidence? Share your thoughts, stories, and suggestions in the comments below, because we can all learn from one another.

You might also enjoy:

When God Says Wait

When God Says Stay

When God Says No

Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith