No one can say their life has gone exactly as planned. There are always twists and turns we didn’t expect, even if we now find ourselves in the general vicinity of where we’d hoped to be. Sadly, however, many people assess the chaos of their lives and wonder, “How in the world has it turned out like this?”
Speaker James McDonald recalled a time when he was wrestling with some difficulties and discussed his dilemma with someone he respected. Upon hearing the tale of woe, the friend replied, “You’re where your best thinking has gotten you.”
This friend wasn’t commending McDonald’s cognitive skills, but observing that he had acted according to what he thought was best at the time. The circumstances – or consequences – facing him were the result. Sometimes our “best thinking” brings about the desired outcome, but other times it doesn’t. Especially when we don’t factor in important variables, or even know what they are.
I recall numerous times making decisions based on the information I had, only to learn I didn’t know everything that was necessary. Other times my “best thinking” was based solely on my impulses at the moment, not considering future ramifications of what I intended to do. Oops!
Okay, if we acknowledge our very best thinking can be flawed at times, how can we avoid making wrong choices, especially ones we’ll later regret? To benefit from thinking that’s really the best, the Scriptures advise we need two things: Sound, trusted counsel, and the wisdom of the timeless, always reliable Word of God.
Some decisions obviously don’t require a lot of consultation, like what to wear to the movies, what to have for dinner, or which candy bar to buy. But there are other decisions, such as those that potentially could have a major impact on our lives financially, our career, or serious family issues. At times like that, Proverbs 11:14 gives a timely warning: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.” A similar verse affirms, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
Even then, we should make every effort to carefully choose our advisers. We want to align our “best thinking” with the best thinking of others with wise insight into the dilemma we’re facing. As Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Then there’s the counsel from the Scriptures themselves. As Joshua succeeded Moses in leading the Israelites and prepared to guide them into the unknowns of the Promised Land, God directed, “Do not let the Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).
Someone has said one of the challenges of raising babies is “they don’t come with a manual.” In reality, we do have a manual available to us. It’s called the Bible. It might not tell how to change a diaper, or provide a remedy for colic, but it does offer sound, proven guidance for dealing with the formidable challenges of daily living. Experience has taught me that by trusting and following it, our “best thinking” becomes much better than it would have been without it.
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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com
, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com
. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.