Analysis paralysis ∙
Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. – Psalms 1:1
24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.
26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.
27 It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.
What is analysis paralysis? Analysis paralysis is an inability to make select a potential course of action due to overanalysis or overthinking of alternatives. An individual or a group can have too much data. Regurgitating and wrangling the upsides and downsides of each option generates indecisiveness. The decision-making process becomes “paralyzed.” Consequently, an individual or a group is unable to make a decision.
The Cat and the Fox (Aesop’s fables)
A cat and a fox were walking and talking with each other. The Fox boasted he had lots of ways of escaping a pack of dogs. The cat on the other hand only knew one way to escape dogs, climb a tree.
One day they were both attacked by a pack of dogs. The Fox ran here and there but eventually was caught and killed. The cat on the other hand climbed a tree and was perfectly safe. The moral of the story is it is better to have one good plan that will work, rather than a bunch of incomplete plans that are merely works in progress and ultimately fail.
How do children of the King make wise decisions and avoid analysis paralysis? There is no simple answer to this question.
Isaiah 30:21 Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
The Father always has a plan. As children of the King, we seek to pray His plan into existence. Knowing the will of God begins with knowledge of the word of God, trust, prayer, and a desire to see His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Joshua 1:8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
Psalms 1:1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
34 For who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?
Sometimes the Father’s instructions don’t make a lot of human sense. But in fact, He already knows what’s going to happen before it does, and He calls us to participate in His plan. He wants us to pray and seek that the Father’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Joshua 6:2 I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors.
The Father knew the end from the beginning. He provided Joshua with explicit instructions. But on the surface, they seemed nonsensical. The fighting men and priests of Israel were to walk around the city of Jericho for six days in a row carrying the Ark of the covenant. On the seventh day, they were to walk around the city seven times and then shout. That was the plan! That was it. Really?
The Father promised that on the seventh day, at the sound of the trumpet the walls would collapse. And that is exactly what happened (Joshua 6).
Think about Moses and the children of Israel at the Red Sea. They were trapped and doomed to certain death (Exodus 14). But the Father miraculously opened the sea and they escaped alive, while their enemies followed and drowned. Consider the destruction of the Assyrian army. A total of 185,000 soldiers had surrounded Jerusalem and were about to attack. Remarkably, they were all slain in the night (Isaiah 37).
The formula seems quite simple: depend upon the Father, seek His help, then a miracle occurs. Our daily and lifelong guidance may not require miracles of this magnitude. But depending upon the Father and seeking His help is mandatory.
REFLECT & PRAY
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil (Proverbs 3:7). Seek trusted, wise counsel from godly children of the King. It is far better than trusting your own.
Father thank You that You are trustworthy and desire me to depend upon You for making decisions, both big and small. Encourage me to pray Your will into existence on earth as it is in heaven. Help me not to be overwhelmed or discouraged by the difficult, or even seemingly impossible situations in which I find myself.
In that we are fallen people in a fallen world, we will probably never make perfect decisions. But we need to seek to make the very best decisions that we can.
Critically consider and evaluate the comments of President Theodore Roosevelt, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Of course, the best thing to do is the right thing. But what about Roosevelt’s second-best choice or what he considered the worse? Do you think this is very good advice?
We can glean some wisdom from principles that fallen people in our fallen world have laid out. It is up to us to take what is useful and applicable and discard the rest
Where to begin? Define your long-term goals, along with a few short-term goals. Where do you see your life in the years to come? Do you seek to develop an ever-closer relationship with the Father? Do you aspire to become strong in your spirit (Luke 1:80)?
How will the decision you make now impact those goals? Will the outcome of your decision be a step towards or away from your objective? Every choice has its pros and cons. Short-term decisions should move you towards your ultimate objectives. Our lifelong journey moves forward one step at a time. Stair-step” your decisions. Take a series of small steps towards a big decision rather than taking quantum leaps.
There are a few more questions to consider that may prove to be helpful. How important is this decision? Will this impact me a year from now? What’s the worst thing that could happen? Set aside sufficient time to ponder and deliberate. Be sure to seek the Father’s face. Decisions with long-term consequences may require weeks or months.
Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you cannot understand at the time (Oswald Chambers).
© Dr. H 2022