Sep 032017 1 Response

Scripture, Sex, and Sleep: How to Make a Good Decision

It’s an unconventional answer, but if you want to make better decisions, remember the three Ss: Scripture, sex, and sleep.

Bad decisions flow from exhaustion, isolation, and distraction while also causing those very same three things. It becomes a vicious cycle which traps people. Yet a few good decisions can change the pattern. But making those decisions is very difficult.

Cause Bad Decisions

Consider how weariness, isolation, and distraction cause bad decisions.

Exhausted. When we are tired, we minimize the amount of brain power we give to vital decision making. We lack the energy to do the work which a good decision demands, while also lacking the discernment to properly understand all the issues involved in the decision. Thinking and processing require energy. When we lack mental and physical resources, our decision making suffers.

Isolated. Decisions are best made in the midst of healthy community. Because our hearts are easily deceived, we need others to assist us in the decision making process. Wise voices enrich our abilities to make good decisions. When we are isolated from others, we lack the information and wisdom that a good community brings. At the same time, because we need a connection to others when we lack that connection we make poor decisions based on those needs. Just like a hungry person makes bad judgment calls while grocery shopping, when our relational tanks are empty, we choose the wrong things to fill them. Isolation creates a double whammy on our ability to make good choices.

Distracted. Good decisions require focus. We must determine what the issue is, what the options are, and figure out the right way to choose properly. When we are distracted, each of those elements is hindered. Distraction can woo our attention away from important things and onto non-essential things. Distracted people might expend exorbitant amounts of energy on pointless decisions while spending no time thinking through issues of life and death. Distracted people often abdicated key decisions to other people or culture itself never realizing what they are doing.

Caused By Bad Decisions

Exhaustion, isolation, and distraction cause bad decisions, but then those decisions cause exhaustion, isolation, and distraction.

Exhaustion. Bad decisions deplete our resources. Internally, they compound stress, anxiety, shame, and guilt. Externally, they create negative consequences which are not fun to endure. They make life harder which requires more energy while preventing us from the rejuvenating nature of good choices. Bad decisions become a hamster wheel from which we cannot break.

Isolation. When we choose poorly, one of the greatest byproducts is a hindering of relationships. Bad choices can cause good people to distance themselves from us. Not wanting to be intermingled with our poor choices, we are cut off from a healthy community. Those same choices cause us to cling to the wrong people at the expense of the right people. Bad decisions isolate us from good people and draw us near bad people. This creates even more isolation as we lack connection with those who would make positive contributions to our lives.

Distraction. Good decisions allow us to focus. Once made, they are often put behind us so we can move on to the next issue. Bad decisions, on the other hand, linger. They hang over us like a storm cloud continually demanding our attention. They create uncertainty and concern for future decisions because having failed once we worry it may happen again. As we deal with the negative consequences of past choices and the fear of future decisions, our minds are distracted from the important issues.

Three Prerequisites for Good Decisions

Knowing the danger of exhaustion, isolation, and distraction, there are three simple steps we can take to better our decision-making process. Engaging these three things does not guarantee the right decision, but it does make it far more likely.

Before important decisions, we must take concrete steps to maximize our feelings of rest, connection, and engagement. For sake of alliteration, I think of it as Scripture, sex, and sleep.

Sleep. There is a reason “sleep on it” is a wise old adage. Not only does a little time give perspective, but a good night’s sleep freshens the mind to make a better choice. It’s amazing how bad our thinking can be when we are tired. Simply sleeping gives us a better perspective. Before a big decision, get some sleep.

Sex. Consider sex as a symbol for connection. Before making an important decision, make intentional steps toward feeling love and connected with other people. Have them remind you that their love and acceptance isn’t dependent on success. For many men (and some women), sex with their spouse provides just that.

Scripture. Few things give us direction as much as the Bible. It can remind us of the big picture and focus us on the things that really matter. The mistake some make is ignoring the Bible when making a decision, but the mistake others make is to read the Bible fixated on a certain circumstance. Instead of using the Bible to find a proof text for a choice, read it to be reminded of God’s character and His commands upon us. The Bible tells who we need to be more than what we need to do. Focus on the who and the what will follow.

It doesn’t happen in every situation, but it’s proverbial true that bad choices lead to exhaustion, isolation, and distraction, but good choices create rest, connection, and engagement. Recognizing the role these things play in our decision-making process if vital to making wise choices.

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