A simple but highly effective way to increase your decision-making abilities is to take a short break to consider the beauty of God’s magnificent creation.
My Unexpected Discovery in Decision-Making
One day I was sitting in my truck in a parking lot weighing the pros and cons of an opportunity. Should I take it? Or should I walk away? My stress level was starting to gain momentum. That’s when the Spirit of God gave me a gentle nudge to look out my window. I became captivated by the swaying crêpe myrtle and as I looked at it, the anxiety of the situation began a rapid melt.
I momentarily forgot about my anxiety over my decision and watched the magenta-colored flowers of the crêpe myrtle being gently rustled by a passing wind. I felt invited to watch the blooms dance to the rhythm of the breeze and allow my stress to fade away. I felt a divine invitation and this was a moment I couldn’t miss. Of all the decisions I made that day, this was the most important one. If I wasn’t taking the time to slow down and simply look at this magnificent creation, I would likely miss it. Or, worse yet, I would take it for granted. The absolute beauty of those blossoms captured my attention and provided a way for my mind to resist the swirling of emotions.
My thoughts changed. Why am I anxious about this opportunity? Why am I letting the decision-making process rile my emotions to the boiling point? That’s not how one makes a well-thought out decision. In the flood of emotions and adrenaline “snap” decisions are made and they are not always the right one. The mental combat against the “fight or flight” thoughts that begin to prevail started an emotional war that I don’t have time to fight right now.
Learning to Let Your Heart Sing When Enjoying Beauty
The beauty of that bush in the parking lot reminded me of the time my wife Kelly and I discovered a new hiking trail. I never cease to be amazed as I wander along trails and get a fresh perspective on a view from either being in the valley between two mountains, or being on top of the mountain looking down into the valley. It amazes me to think that God, as the creative creator, can create so many wonderfully different things.
A sense of awe washed over me as Kelly and I rounded a mountain path and we were engulfed with yellow flowers. Looking up and down the mountain, there were yellow flowers that were too numerous to count.
On many occasions, John Eldridge encourages both his readers and listeners to find the beauty in God‘s creation. Why is this important? Because God created beauty for us to behold.
Think about where Beauty can be found for just a moment: The butterfly that flits across your path as you meander down a sidewalk in your neighborhood. The Beta Fish that wriggles through the water in a fish tank at your local neighborhood restaurant. The bird sitting in your backyard on the feeder chirping out his song. All of these were created by God for us to marvel at the wonder of His creative designs.
Even the blues and whites of the sky in this photo from the side of the mountain display God’s creativity, as well as all of the brown hues of rocks and dirt tumbled on the mountain. Do you notice all of the shades of green? How many colors does God paint with? All of them!
Solomon noted in his book of Songs:
“My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance.” (Song of Solomon 2:10-13, ESV)
He notes that when the flowers bloom, it’s a time for singing. Why sing? Why not! God and his beautiful creation are worth singing about!
Learning to Stop Anxiety and Worry by Considering the Lilies
In his teaching recorded by the Apostle Matthew, Jesus asked his listeners to consider the lilies of the field. I would imagine that when Jesus gave this illustration, there were likely lilies for his audience to see and observe. It was an object lesson.
He told his audience to consider how well the lilies are dressed. Their refinement and glory is a direct reflection of who God is as the creator and sustainer of this world. Jesus then says that Solomon, who was the wisest and richest man to ever live, and who, dressed in the best clothes, was never dressed better than the lilies of the field. According to Jesus, there’s no comparison.
“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Matthew 6:28 ESV)
Ah, the question before the statement: “why are you anxious…” Let’s just stop there.
Beauty. The kind that can only be found in the natural creation fashioned by the amazing mind of the Creator. The Beauty snaps me out of the back and forth, and causes everything within my spirit to pause. “Oh wait. Look at that. Wow. That’s so beautiful.”
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:30-34 ESV)
God knows about my decision to make. He may be putting the opportunity in my path for me. However, in that moment He steered my attention toward Beauty. All I did was sit and stare, and take in the Beauty before me. No words needed. No massive revelation. No angel choir. No earthquakes. No angel showing up to point out the crepe myrtle to me, just magenta-colored petals to captivate my soul. I wasn’t on a mountainside; I was in a parking lot a couple-hundred feet above sea level here in Texas.
“Do not be anxious…” “Consider the lilies…” “…do not be anxious about tomorrow…”
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Consider the Beauty of Order and Chaos Merging Together in Perfect Balance
Tzvi Freeman, a contributing author to Chabad.org, said the following about beauty in an online article: “The most beautiful, fascinating things in our universe are those instances of nature where order and chaos merge together in perfect balance.” I believe that what Mr. Freeman has it right. If we look at the Beauty God has created we can get caught up in the order and chaos merged together as we consider the creation before us. Can you think of an example?
I have one: the Calypso Cascades. The chaos of the water going everywhere downhill fast; the trees and rocks strewn across the side of the mountain in the Rocky Mountain National Park; but together all of that becomes a beautiful waterfall. The mastery of God on display as the water is allowed to go careening down the mountain, but is contained by the rocks and trees.
God controls all of this by his will and word. An awe-inspiring scene to behold, yet God can tell you the number of molecules contained in all of the water that has ever flowed down this mountain-side waterfall. He knows the exact composition of the rocks from the inside out. Ever rock was placed in its exact location by God so that this cascade could look how he designed it.
Where do you need to stop and “consider the lilies?” Is God trying to get you to slow down for a long moment and consider where the order and chaos collide to make something beautiful created by God just for you?
How to Increase Your Decision-Making Abilities by Considering God’s Magnificent Creation Prayer
Pray this with me: “Father I have a hard time slowing down. I am forgetting to listen to your words that tell me “do not be anxious” and to take time to “consider the lilies.” Forgive me for not making time to see the beauty in all that you have created, including the beautiful creation that I can see in the mirror. Help me to not miss these moments, especially in the hard times, and to remember that all You have made and all you have created is because you love me. In Jesus name, amen.”
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