Recently, one of our board members quoted this statement from AW Tozer: “Every man must choose his world.” In that particular board meeting, we were deliberating over different options that would allow us to serve our targeted audience better. With so many good options out there – our first step was to define our calling more clearly so we could make the right choices for those we feel most called to serve. We had to “choose our world”.
You’ve probably heard it’s a good thing to consider all the options. That advice can drag you down a deep, dark rabbit hole when your time and energy could be better spent on serving others. As Christians, some of our choices are already narrowed down. “Thou shalt not murder” is pretty clear in the Bible – no need to deliberate over that one! But so many are left up to us and can lead to choose overload. Some options should be ruled out if they don’t belong in “your world”.
At one point in my life when my kids were young – it was important in my world that my children dressed cute. Don’t laugh – I know some of you moms secretly want your kids on the “best dressed” list. When my oldest was about six, he dressed for school wearing an atrocious combination of different colors/patterns that he picked out. When I asked him to put on something that matched, I found him on the phone with his dad (who was already at work) pleading “can you pleeeeeease come home and tell mom that I should get to choose, and that things don’t have to match?”. So later that day, I put clothing sets in his drawer (of course they matched) and told him he got to pick out his clothes – but he had to choose the whole set from the drawer. That worked! I put a choice boundary in place that saved time and frustration. Sidenote: You may be pleased to know that I’m over my “matchy matchy” thing and now value “creative expression” in my world!
Seriously though, entertaining too many options, especially those that do not line up with God’s word or your calling, can lead to:
• Mental fatigue
• Wasting time
So how do you narrow down those choices? It takes intentionality and these two steps:
Define what you will and will not allow in your world.
You might start by asking yourself questions like:
• What are my core values?
• What do I allow myself to view/watch/listen to on social media, TV, podcasts, etc.
• When do I want to work, and not work?
• Who in my life adds value, and who drains me?
Determine what choice boundaries are needed to reduce the choice clutter.
Like I mentioned in my story about my son’s clothes, he needed parameters around his clothing selection that would narrow his options, make his momma happy, and allow him to get to school on time. As grown-ups, there are simple things we can do to save time, be more productive, and live our best lives. Ask yourself:
• When am I most productive and what tasks do I need to accomplish during that time?
• What types of foods and activities will help me meet my health goals – and which ones do I need to eliminate?
• What programs do I need to say “no” to in order to keep focused on my mission?
Avoiding choice overload starts with deciding in advance what NOT to entertain in your mind. Because what we “think on”, we will act on (see Philippians 4:12), or we may even shut down. So do yourself a favor and reduce the number of choices you have to make in a day by putting up filters that automatically rule certain things out. Choose your world, and simplify your life.