It happens all the time in leadership. You have to make a critical decision in the next hour or the next day. Either way, there’s pressure to decide quickly. So how do you do that?
It’s tempting to go with your gut—to do what feels right in the core of your being. We’ve all done it. But is the core of our being always lined up with God’s wisdom?
Recently, a late-breaking opportunity/assignment came across my desk. I was asked to present material for a training video that would be used nationally. Opportunity-wise, I could help the national group. Assignment-wise, it would take time I didn’t have. Gut-wise, it was out of my comfort zone and I didn’t relish the added pressure.
I spoke with a colleague about it. Her first words were, “Seems like a distraction to me.” She knew my busy schedule and the importance of my current tasks.
I said, “Let’s pray about it,” and we did. As we prayed, my gut became more aligned with God’s heart. I began to see things from the national group’s perspective, and could see why they’d want leaders from the field to participate. More and more, it seemed like something I should say yes to. After we prayed, my colleague said, “The word ‘availability’ came to mind during our prayer.”
Ugh. That was the confirmation I needed. I essentially dropped everything, pressed through the weirdness of doing a sample videotaping—knowing it was what God wanted me to do—and sent it off to the videographer.
Had I gone with my gut, I would’ve bowed out gracefully. But had I gone with my gut, I would’ve missed God’s intention for me.
How to Go with the Spirit
- Acknowledge your gut. God already knows your instinctive feelings about the situation, but it’s helpful to express them to Him. Doing so will help you discern any influence from your flesh, and God will begin to align you with His Spirit.
- Find a trusted associate. You won’t always have time to include someone else in the discernment, but when you’re able to—it will be invaluable. You’ll gain their objectivity and their participation in prayer.
- Ask God for perspective. Be as open-minded as possible, and sincerely ask God for His wisdom. He wants to lead you, He wants you to hear His voice, and He will speak as you listen.
- Allow yourself to adjust. If what you’ve heard from God is different from your initial inclination, He’ll help you shift your emotions and make the necessary changes.
- Confidently obey. When you’ve made your decision according to God’s Word and Spirit, you are good to go. Press forward and be assured that God is with you as you carry it out.
In the fast-paced world of leadership, it’s tempting to make gut decisions on the fly, hoping for the best. But leaders who take time to press into God and go with the Spirit’s leading—and not just their gut—have a far better track record of making sound decisions.