Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes, actually often, I have found it difficult to tell the difference between a stupid decision and a faithful one in leadership.
Stupid or faithful to engage the boss in a needed discussion?
Stupid or faithful to try something brand new?
Stupid or faithful to explore a new possibility?
Stupid or faithful to stick it out where you are?
Stupid or faithful to stretch the budget?
Stupid or faithful to try that crazy new idea at youth group?
Stupid or faithful to pursue more education in this season?
Stupid or faithful to build?
Stupid or faithful to change your organizational structure?
Stupid or faithful to confront someone?
Stupid or faithful to move?
Stupid or faithful to pursue a new relationship?
Stupid or faithful to take on one more thing?
Honestly, it can seem like a fine line sometimes. It seems to be it is not until afterwards, sometimes a long time afterwards, I can see whether it was really following God’s leading and being faithful or it was just stupid.
Certainly there are plenty examples in the Bible where people felt this fine line: Noah building the ark, Abraham and Sarah having a baby in their very old age, Moses going to talk to Pharaoh, Peter walking on water, David confronting a giant, Jesus allowing Himself to be nailed to a cross…
I’m not talking about the obviously stupid decisions.
You know the ones I mean.
Just be honest, some things are just stupid.
Here’s how I’m starting to discern the difference ahead of time if a decision is stupid or faithful:
1. If only I think it’s a good idea, it is not a good idea. God has placed us in a body of believers, if it’s really a good idea God will affirm it to others who are following Him as well. I purposefully bounce ideas off people I trust love God and love His mission in the world. This is where mentors are so valuable! This is where having a team around you that you trust is so valuable.
2. Peace about it when I compare it to Scripture and pray about it. Does it line-up with what I know and see of God’s character, heart and ways? As I lay it before God in prayer, what am I hearing? As I lay it before God in prayer would I have regret or relief if I pursued it?
3. Potential to lead people closer to God. Does it have the potential to lead others (and myself) closer to God?
4. What’s my motive? Am I running from or to something? Do I really want what God wants in this or something else? Is my motive for God’s best?
5. Who gets the glory in this? If I pursue this whose glory is it for God’s, someone else’s, mine? Here I’ve got to be really honest about whether this is truly for God’s glory.
Am I the only one? Have others noticed this fine line? What helps you discern the difference?
While I’m on the topic, I think we need more people that are willing to risk appearing stupid for the sake of being faithful to God and His Kingdom. That is not the same thing as being stupid. It’s being faithful, even if it looks stupid. It is following God’s voice and being faithful to His leading, even when it might look like stupidity to the world. Just be sure it’s actually being faithful and not just being stupid.
Very thoughtful article. I like your discernment grid which helps slow us down before taking a step which we might regret later. Looking back at a lifetime of “stupid” decisions😉, I would say that #5 would have saved me from some mistakes. It is a useful tool for me right now in an issue I am facing. Thank you for being faithful in sharing your journey!
Glad you find it helpful! May we be found faithful.