You don’t want to be around me in the midst of a big decision-making time. The effort I put into it would exhaust even an onlooker. For example, when I was trying to decide between two grad schools, I went back and forth so many times I was surprised the one I finally chose still agreed to take me. I had told them yes, then no, then yes again. All during the yes-and-then-no fluctuations were pros and cons lists written on white boards, nights lying awake or having nightmares about making the wrong choice, sitting in a wicker chair in the corner of my bedroom asking God where I should go. Both were good schools in beautiful cities with their own charms. It was a win-win: my worst nightmare.
I agonize about making the exact right perfect decision. The one that places me in the exact right perfect path of God’s will so that I meet the people I’m supposed to meet, see the things I’m supposed to see, and experience that parts of God’s earth I was intended to experience. Prayer, pros and cons lists, searching for signs…I do these incessantly until I land on something.
This makes me feel good about myself. Like I’ve really searched for God’s will in my decision making and been a good and faithful servant, thinking I’m choosing His ways over my own. And then I have coffee with a friend. And she begins to tell me how things have simply worked out for her. She applied here, got in, went. I was great. She decided to take this trip because it seemed fun, met amazing people, and her life was changed.
It’s infuriating. Why do I sweat, and lose sleep and cry over decisions while she practically closes her eyes and picks her life at random from a catalog and sees God move in huge ways? It’s an injustice. Those of us that are obsessed with choosing God’s will and terrified of stepping outside of it don’t know what it’s like to have the freedom of simply picking.
But what’s most infuriating of all, is that I think I know the answer to this question over “over-praying,” or over-agonizing. What the answer has been to a lot of my questions over the past couple of months: There’s a balance. There’s always a balance. I’m tired of balance. I like extremes (Freud would claim this is because I’m a middle child), and I want to think it is possible to be in degrees of God’s will. Is it? Even when we’re praying to be in it at all times? Because I’ve made some decisions that didn’t turn out so well,
and I’m beginning to wonder.