Just the facts, ma'am...just the facts


Sophocles reminded us: "Quick decisions are unsafe decisions." I have made my share of those 'impromptu' decisions, only to regret the aftermath of not having taken more time to think things through. How about you? Deciding without knowing all the facts can lead to unforeseen consequences. Ever turn the wrong way thinking you were going to take a shortcut somewhere only to find yourself smack-dab in the middle of a traffic jam? The bad decision not only made you late, but it gave you unwanted stress and anxiety as you crept along in all that traffic. While that may not have been what some may label as an 'unsafe' decision, it might have been 'unsafe' in the terms of what it did to your reputation by being late, or in how it affected the others who were waiting on your arrival in terms of their worry, lost work time, or frustrations. As I have said on more than one occasion, our decisions - good or bad - affect not only us, but all those around us.

Pride ends in destruction; humility ends in honor. What a shame—yes, how stupid—to decide before knowing the facts! A man’s courage can sustain his broken body, but when courage dies, what hope is left? (Proverbs 18:12-14)

Back in the day, there was a show on TV known as 'Dragnet' in which Detective Joe Friday used to say, "The facts, ma'am, all we want are the facts." From that, we got the saying, "Just the facts, all I want is just the facts." If we were to operate a bit more in the 'facts' and a little less in the 'unknown', we might just make better decisions. God's plans aren't known to those who don't seek him, but to those who seek him, he opens their hearts and minds to understand his purposes. That helps us make better decisions - because we come into awareness of the 'facts, just the facts'. We can operate without those facts, muddling through and coming 'pretty close' to God's purpose in every circumstance, but I will be the first to admit 'pretty close' doesn't cut it.

If we don't know the 'facts', we only need ask God. He doesn't want us wandering around in darkness when there is light available for the asking! If you haven't figured this one out yet, it takes humility to ask for help. When we don't have clear vision, we have to humble and quiet ourselves long enough to actually listen for the 'facts'. We can bumble through with minimal light, because we didn't listen long enough, or we can walk in the fullness of light, having waited on God until he revealed the facts we needed to move forward. I hope I choose the latter more often than I do the former. How about you? Are you willing to ask for God's help? Are you willing to wait on his answers - the facts - before you move? Just askin!

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