Friday, May 07, 2010

Dare to Decide

Trust in God. Confidence in Self. Focused on One Thing. The first two tasks are going okay, but that last one is a huge struggle. I am interested in so many ideas, opportunities, possibilities, journeys, etc. This results in indecision, regret, dabbling, fatigue, and bewilderment. I am continually faced with reality: I must make choices, I must say NO to many, many, many, many, many things, and say YES to a few. Figuring out what to say YES to is difficult, but it is what makes saying NO possible.

Once again I turn to Kierkegaard for wisdom and conviction and inspiration. Some of the quotes below are a blatant reprimand to some of my cowardice, pride, and fear. I seek to do the next right thing, but I fumble around trying to focus on the EXACT right move, afraid that a misstep at the beginning guarantees future failure. Of course this is only possible when I narrow down the next right thing to one specific step, when what is required is a particular direction. I'm looking at the next flagstone, God is trying to lift up my chin to see the next milemarker.

Do not fly so high with your decisions that you forget that a decision is but a beginning.
How wretched and miserable it is to find in a person many good intentions but few good deeds. And there are other dangers too, dangers of sin. With all your good intentions, you must not forget your duty, neither should you forget to do it with joy. And strive to carry your burdens and responsibilities in a surrendered way. If you don't, there is a danger of losing your decisiveness; of going through life without courage and fading away in death.
The proud person always wants to do the right thing, the great thing. But because he wants to do it in his own strength, he is fighting not with man but with God. He wants to have a great task set before himself and to carry it through on his own accord. And then he is very pleased with his place. 
The thing that cowardice fears most is decision; for decision always scatters the mists, at least for a moment. Cowardice and time always find a reason for not hurrying, for saying, "Not today, but tomorrow", whereas God in heaven and the eternal say: "Do it today. Now is the day of salvation."
But "God does not give us the spirit of cowardice, but the spirit of power, and of love and of self-control" (1Tim. 1:7). Cowardice does not come from God. One who wants to build a tower sits down and makes an estimate as to how high he can build it. But if no decision is ever made then no tower is ever built. A good decision is our will to do everything we can within our power. It means to serve God with all we've got, be it little or much. Every person can do that.
We must not support high and important things while ignoring the practical, daily stuff of life. Indeed, decision is something truly great; the life of eternity shines over decision. But the light of eternity does not shine on every decision. Decision may be once and for all; but decision itself is only the first thing. 
Genuine decision is always eager to change its clothes and get down to practical matters. The real significance of decision is that it gives us an inner connection. Decision gets us on our way, and here there are no longer little things. Decision lays its demanding hand on us from start to finish. 
Cowardice, on the other hand, wants only to concern itself with the really important, big things, not in order to carry something out wholeheartedly but to be flattered by doing something that is noble and great. Yet hiding behind the exalted is nothing but an excuse for not conquering all the little things one has omitted, simply because they were too little.
This much is certain: the greatest thing each person can do is to give himself to God utterly and unconditionally - weaknesses, fears, and all. For God loves obedience more than good intentions or second-best offerings, which are all too often made under the guise of weakness. 
Therefore, dare to renew your decision. It will lift you up again to have trust in God. For God is a spirit of power and love and self-control, and it is before God and for him that every decision is made. Dare to act on the good that is buried within your heart.
Confess your decision and do not go ashamed with downcast eyes as if you were treading on forbidden ground. If you are ashamed of your own imperfections, then cast your eyes down before God, not man. Better yet, in weakness decide and go forth!
Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations, pgs. 3-8

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