I know, I know, you have been eagerly anticipating the media flowchart follow-up post. Well, here it is. Below you will find my Decision Making Flowchart…a broad approach to making any life decision. This post is in response to a previous thread…start HERE if you would like the background leading up to this post.
I won’t restate everything that has already been discussed, but in summary, I was looking for some guidance from my friends on how they evaluate what media (TV, Movies, Computer Games, etc) they decide to watch and what media they decide to allow/encourage their children to participate in. As part of the discussion, I asked everyone to come up with a “flowchart” that visually captured their decision making thought process. (Nobody seemed to like this idea primarily because each individual scenario is so unique and the Bible is just not that clear about specific situations, especially involving media choices, since none of those options were available to people of Bible times)
I have decided that my original scenario was too specific. I got to thinking that there must be some general guidelines available to help us make most any decision, including media decisions. I did some searches on the Internet and found lots of interesting ideas but, coincidentally, or providentially (depending on your worldview), the church I attend started a series the week of that post called “Your Move”, which I feel best addressed my question of all the ideas I was exposed to. I have incorporated those ideas and some of my own to create my “Decision Making Flowchart“.
However, before I get to the flowchart I want to share one of the quotes (by Frank Outlaw) I stumbled across while researching ideas for the flowchart:Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
I thought this was an interesting idea. Our decisions are guided by our thoughts. If we want to make good choices than we have to start with good thoughts. Our thoughts are tied to our beliefs and how we see the world (our worldview). I will probably discuss this idea more in a future post. For now, I just want to draw attention to the idea that my decision making flowchart should work well for anyone, but if your view of reality is flawed, and you put flawed thoughts into the steps of the flow chart, you will get flawed recommendations out. With that in mind, here is my latest draft of the Decision Making Flowchart:
God takes full responsibility for a life wholly yielded and devoted to Him – Charles Stanley
Notes on the four questions:
1. Am I being completely honest with myself? (Why am I doing this, really?)
The point of this question is to help you identify your true motivations. Before you can make a wise decision you have to make sure you are dealing honestly with reality and your emotions. To help expose if you are being honest with yourself or deceiving yourself, you could ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this, really?”
2. What story do I want to tell?
Someday, when you are recounting the story of this decision to your friends and family, what story do you hope you will tell?
3. Is there a tension that I need to pay attention to?
If you feel a tension regarding one of the options, don’t suppress it, make it as big as you can in your mind and deal with it. The tension is probably real…is your decision illegal, is it going to potentially hurt someone physically or emotionally, is it dishonest or selfish…if you feel some tension, make sure you understand why…and DON’T IGNORE IT!
4. What would be most honoring to God?
This question doesn’t apply to you if you are an atheist but for the rest of us, this question often immediately makes the best decision clear (but not always easy).
Please leave a comment if you found this useful, flawed, or irritating. If you have a great idea for a modification or enhancement please let me know.
The flow chart is built primarily from concepts I learned while attending North Point Community Church. You can learn more about the four questions in the series titled “Your Move“, available for free from North Point Community Church.
I realize the flowchart is not technically correct in the use of the symbols and connections but I found a simplified flowchart to be more effective for the purposes of this post. If it really bothers you please feel free to “fix” my flowchart and I will post yours as well.
PDF Version of the Flowchart: Decision Making Flowchart