How I Made the Hardest Decision of my Life

How I Made the Hardest Decision of my Life

Yesterday I made what I think has been the hardest decision of my life so far.

Compared with the choices facing many each day, it was nothing – not life and death, no pressure from anyone, no-one but myself affected – but for me it was gut-wrenching.

The night before, while still wrestling with it, I wrote out how I was feeling, in an attempt to stop the thoughts going fruitlessly round and round in my head, and to get them out where I could look at them and see the decision for what it was.

This is what I wrote:

I’m having to make one of the hardest decisions of my life tonight.

Each option will involve relinquishing something that I love and that has been a huge part of who I am for the past while.

Either way will end an era that I’m not ready to end.

Either option will involve stepping out into the unknown.

The question is, do I really trust the voice I think I’m hearing? Am I hearing right, and if so, do I believe that what it says is faithful and true?

I’ve followed it before, many times, but the way it has led has always been pretty much the only option – certainly by the time decision-time came around. This time it’s different. This time either way could be good, either way could be the start of an incredible, fun, challenging, rewarding adventure. I could thrive on either path.

One is slightly safer, a slightly more known-entity; it includes some things I love, but means turning my back on a dream.

Do I have the courage to take the harder, less clear, more challenging road? Can I bear to burn the other bridge?

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.

You probably don’t need me to tell you which I chose.

Since burning the bridge I have been grieving a little for the things I know I will lose as a result. I want to cling onto them, but I know the world doesn’t work that way. All too soon I’ll have to say ‘goodbye’, and that’s hard.

But there was no other choice I could have made.

I know the voice of God when I hear it, and I know that I know that the safest place – the only safe place – to be is in the centre of His will. To ask for guidance then to ignore it would be folly of the first order.

I didn’t really choose, I just obeyed.

Someone asked me, “Do you feel any sense of peace about it at all?”

Do I feel it? No.

Do I cling onto it trusting that the God I know is faithful even in the darkness when the feelings of the moment are overwhelming? Yes.

Feelings are unreliable witnesses, they bear false testimony and distort the facts. They have great power, but they are not the truth, and when facts and feelings conflict, only a fool follows his feelings.

I wanted to share this because I hope it might encourage someone else who’s facing a dilemma and doesn’t know if they have the courage to take the harder road. You’re not alone. It’s tough, isn’t it? But you know what – people have made it through before us. This too shall pass.

And I hope it will be even more of an encouragement when I come back in a few months’ time and add a post-script saying ‘See what God has done!’

How did I make the hardest decision of my life? By knowing who I am, who God is, and what He has called me to, and by choosing to put my trust in Him. I don’t know where it will lead, but I know I’ve chosen the right path – watch this space!

Picture Credit: A Dilemma, by Julia Manzerova (Creative Commons)

12 Comments On This Topic
  1. Alisa Russell
    on Sep 21st at 12:30 am

    Glad you found the path you’re supposed to be on. Wishing for some of that clarity for myself right now.

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Sep 21st at 8:31 am

      Thank you Alisa. Yes, as I was finishing it up I thought that as hard as it was at least I did know which direction I should take – there have certainly been times when it’s been less clear – then I make lists: pro/con lists, lists of who I am, my hopes and dreams, my fears, my talents/gifts and any other lists I can think of. Eventually a pattern emerges and it helps – helps me see where my heart is leaning, if nothing else.

      Praying for clarity for you soon.

      Reply
      • Alisa Russell
        on Sep 21st at 2:39 pm

        Thank you, Jennie. The beginning of the school year and fall activities has been very overwhelming. As well as coming up on the one year anniversary of my miscarriage.

        Reply
        • Jennie Pollock
          on Sep 21st at 10:40 pm

          Oh Alisa, I’m so sorry. Must be very tough indeed. Praying for you now. Xx

          Reply
  2. jon
    on Sep 21st at 12:53 am

    as i read this, i noticed something in me that – after reading your descriptions of the two paths – i almost immediately wanted to say, “yeah! pick the dream! it may be harder, but go for it!” i’ve been on the other side of that decision before, though, and my approach to it certainly wasn’t as enthusiastic and gung-ho as i’m able to be from the audience… i’m glad you chose the way you did. blessings and Godspeed on whatever the new adventure will be. may many be inspired and heartened by it… i get the picture in my head of you starting off on a hero’s quest…

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Sep 21st at 8:22 am

      Thank you, Jon! Yeah, I know you know what this feels like! Thanks for the encouragement.

      Reply
  3. Christine Niles (@CRoyseNiles)
    on Sep 21st at 1:05 pm

    Wouldn’t it just be so much easier if a bush caught fire and then spoke audibly? Moses *still* argued with God even then…

    I prayed for that clarity from Him for years before I figured out what He wanted for me (because I didn’t really want to listen because it was really scary). Even after I heard the answer, I fought it for several more months.

    Decision made, I can SO relate to not having a sense of peace, really, but still knowing it’s the right decision. God’s path is not usually the easiest, but it is right.

    Thanks, for laying your soul bare and letting us in. Beautiful.

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Sep 21st at 1:26 pm

      Thanks Christine, I had a sense you’d relate.

      Excited to see where your big decision takes you – I’m sure it must be daunting, but it’s going to be brilliant, too.

      Thanks for your encouragement!

      Reply
  4. Jen Ellis
    on Sep 21st at 4:49 pm

    Thankyou for sharing Jennie, a challenging and moving post

    Reply
  5. Dave Henry
    on Sep 4th at 2:27 pm

    Jennie, I found your blog through a recent article you published with LICC, and this particular post stood out to me. How are you doing on this journey now? I find myself in a seemingly similar scenario.

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Sep 4th at 4:18 pm

      Hi Dave, nice to ‘meet’ you!
      Well, it’s been an amazing journey. You can find an update on the specifics here: http://jenniepollock.com/will-write-for-food/ and on my progress here: http://jenniepollock.com/happy-anniversary-to-me/ but in short, my obedience in turning down a job I really wanted but knew God was saying ‘no’ to has led to a flourishing career as a freelance writer and editor (with a job 2 days a week that just guarantees that the rent will be covered, if nothing else!).

      There’s still a part of me that wishes God had said yes to that other job, but I am really happy in what I am doing and where I am doing it. Just this last weekend God has confirmed again that I need to stay where I am for a while longer, and he’ll move me on when the time is right.

      Also this weekend I was reminded that one of the reasons we sometimes hesitate about saying ‘yes’ to God is because we fear his path might include hardship or suffering – there’s certainly biblical precedent for that! – but there’s suffering everywhere. We might as well encounter it from within the centre of God’s will as from outside, trying to keep ourselves safe by our own efforts.

      If you know what God’s saying, my advice is, obey, no matter how painful and scary. Even if my story hadn’t ‘worked out’ from my perspective, I still think it would have been the right thing to do. (Though I realise it’s easy to say that from where I’m sitting!)

      Let me know how it goes!

      Reply

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