“Never doubt decisions in the dark that were made in the light” is a phrase my kids heard from me while they grew up. I really thought I made it up until shortly before they left for college, they googled it and found out that an acquaintance of mine was credited with originating that phrase. I was labeled a poser by my kids, but I still think that acquaintance may have heard it from me. However, I am not worried about who said it first because she is smarter than I am. There is a lot of wisdom in the phrase.
Often, I see people make great decisions after thinking, praying, and consulting wise advisors, only to later doubt that they made the correct call. It isn’t that they received more information that cast the decision in a new light; rather, most often, their emotions or some comment by another caused them to rethink the decision while under the influence of fears or anxiety.
The examples are numerous. It is often seen by parents who watch their kids make great lifestyle choices regarding sexual boundaries, drugs, alcohol, and relationships as they are surrounded by wise adults or reading resourceful books. But, then, in times of passion, peer pressure, or emotions, teens totally ignore their prior decisions, sometimes resulting in lifelong negative consequences. Decisions in the light versus decisions in the dark.
The single person who clearly and carefully scripts the type of person they want to spend their life in a relationship with God is another example. As the years pass by, they fear that their opportunities for an appropriate spouse are fading, so they commit to someone who falls so short of the godly spouse that spurs them on toward love and good deeds. It is one thing to adjust naïve expectations, but it is quite another to abandon foundational characteristics out of fear. Decisions in the light versus decisions in the dark.
“Buyer’s Remorse” is another example of this very thing. If appropriate resources (prayer, thinking, and counsel) are used before one makes a purchase, then don’t let your fears, doubts, or expectations of others leave you doubting the very thing you were so sure of before you purchased. Decisions in the light versus decisions in the dark.
And what about taking that job, seeing a therapist, pushing the speed limit, making that long-awaited trip, eating that dessert, clicking on that link, or going for that run? Decisions in the light versus decisions in the dark.
It is interesting to me how darkness can take many different forms; however, most often, it involves emotions like the many types of fears (FOMO), comparisons, inadequacies, insecurities, worst-case thinking, weariness, lack of sleep, and yes, even the enemy of our soul. Decisions in the dark happen to us every day when we are challenged not to fulfill commitments out of the pressure from immediate emotions.
So we compromise on decisions that we made when we were in a better-lit place. Decisions made in the light are almost always made in an environment of openness before God, others, and ourselves. Being in the “light” involves first being totally honest about our true desires and emotions. It is okay to be totally honest with yourself, even if it seems selfish, be honest about it because you are fooling no one. Decisions to serve oneself can be healthy at times. Just be honest. Spending time with our loving Creator dwelling on His desires for us, and considering our own desires is the next step. Just sit in his presence and dwell on his word, seek his wisdom, and allow God’s Spirit to commune with you.
Lastly, discussing this with someone who has no emotional investment in our decision yet has great discernment into the situation. If you want to live in the light, find someone older than you. I recently made a big decision and asked my mentor, who is ten years older than I am. He gave me great wisdom and, ultimately, peace.
Though darkness can look very different, being in the light almost always looks the same. Unfortunately, I have changed many decisions in the dark that I had previously made in the light, to my detriment. But I am finding as I age, the emotions that so often darkened my perspective are now losing their luster. Remaining in the light seems easier. I think that is why the scriptures elevate the wisdom of the elderly.