On Making Wise Choices

College (and life in general) is full of a litany of decisions. Whether it’s choosing how big of a credit load you want to carry next semester, making friends at a party, or deciding on your career path, the choices you make while in school can have a big impact on your future.

The Bible doesn’t always tell us directly what we should do; sometimes it does—and we’re ever so grateful for that—but most of the time, a lot of the decisions we need to make seem to fall in a grey area. So how do we discern what’s best for moving forward? How can we confidently make wise life decisions in a way that honors the Lord but is also practically sound?

Here are some tips—both practical and theoretical—on how to approach big choices.

1. Seek the Lord

Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” When it comes to making big decisions, before you do anything else, ask God what He has for you. The Lord is faithful to make a way, and if it’s His will, He’ll show you what move to make next.

Sometimes, however, we don’t hear a direct response back from the Lord. In these cases, it’s important to remember that the Lord gives wisdom in more than one way—and the Bible is a huge part of that. Many of the decisions we hope to hear from God about are amoral. Take some time to hold your two (or more) options up against what Scripture says. If they don’t go against what the Lord has commanded, then you can trust that you have the option and freedom to choose, and you can simply make your decision and know that God will meet you and guide you in whatever you decide.

2. Seek wise counsel

Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end, you will be counted among the wise.” Whether it’s a mentor, a trusted family member, or a mature friend, you’ll do well to seek wise counsel about the important decisions you make in life.

Sometimes our pride can get in the way of this, and we might feel like we should be able to figure it on our own without seeking help. But there is so much in prudence in connecting with someone who’s already been there or who has a really good head on their shoulders. As with all counsel, you should take it with a grain of salt and hold it up against Scripture. If it checks out there, there’s probably a good chance that you should listen to the advice.

3. Make a pro/con list

While this tactic might seem to be overly practical, making a list of the pros and cons for each different side of the decision can really assist you in figuring out what’s important to you and what you can let go of. You may not realize how many cons there were to a certain side of the decision until you see it on paper.

If you’re having trouble making your list, ask someone to assist you and ask you questions that will draw out the answers you need to write down. Talking it out verbally can help you process from a different angle. Keep in mind, there are plenty of apps out there now that will assist you in your list making as well!

4. Think futuristically 

Consider the potential risks that come with the decision you’re going to make and try to think five (or even ten!) years in advance. Who will your choice affect? Will it change your course of action over time? Do you have a plan B if plan A doesn’t work out?

Doing the long math will pay off in the end, and you’ll be able to confidently move forward knowing you’ve considered the possible outcomes and thoroughly thought through the options available to you.

Start deciding

Don’t be afraid of hard decisions. You’ll face many throughout your lifetime, so it’s important to figure out a process that works for you. Making decisions is a skill, and the more you practice it, the more you’ll become adept at doing it well.