I've often suspected that despite our nationwide addiction to having abundant choices on everything from vacation destinations to nail clippers, most of the real decisions in life are T-intersections. You can rise to the task at hand, or not. You can knit your family closer together, or let people drift apart. You can grow closer to God, or push him away. You can be generous of heart, or fold in on yourself. You can learn how to cope, or expect others to cope with your lack of coping. '
Hence I find that having a few simple rules of life helps with making good choices. Back when I was single and life ran on a spectrum from self-centered to self-indulged, I had one rule of thumb:
Never do anything you wouldn't want to see in a headline in the New York Post.
It kept me out of a lot of trouble.
When I got married I made up a simple rule of thumb for conflict:
Always do what will strengthen the marriage in the long run.
It's made apologies and tongue-biting a lot easier. It's shortened the sulk-cycle, and improved my forgiving-ness.
When it comes to dealing with major crises and thorny problems and eye-crossing difficulties, my rule of thumb is this:
The question isn't what's the best thing to do, but what's the right thing to do.
Maybe it's age talking here, but I am utterly certain that I don't know -- can't know, will never know -- the best solution to any given problem. I do all the necessary legwork, and gather all the right information, and figure out what I think is the best path. But I am not omniscient. Invariably I find out information later that would have colored or changed my decision. I know: it's happened many, many times.
So I've kind of given up on getting too attached to particular solutions.I've learned that it's far, far better to focus on being the kind of person I want to be than to hyper-focus on the kind of outcome I desire. I do the best I can with the information I have, and then to say my most-often-used prayer:
Here's what I think. If You have a better plan, make it clear, Lord. Just make it clear.