Our Choices as God Might See Them

man at crossroads - illustration

The Christian faith has always taken seriously the matter of discernment. What choice will I make? We must choose constantly, through our daily routines as well as major life situations. We want to make the right choice, the one that will please God, the one that will help us prosper and be content. We know that a wrong choice can sometimes have disastrous consequences. Thus, we endeavor to make our discernments in the context of prayer, wisdom, and good counsel.

I wonder how God sees our choices. In fact, I wonder if, in God’s way of seeing, “right” and “wrong” are as important as we make them. We tend toward a narrow and punitive mindset when it comes to making decisions, thinking there is only one right way to do something, only one right choice—and we’d better make the right choice if we don’t want to bring upon ourselves disaster and years of unhappiness and regret.

This mindset is somewhat understandable regarding a major life decision, when the consequences are far-reaching. But isn’t our view unnecessarily narrow? Do we believe that if we miss that opportunity, we are doomed to the “wrong” choice? Are God’s resources that skimpy—really? Is God’s creativity that ineffective?

It seems that the God of abundant gifts provides many options of grace in a lifetime. And God our creator understands that the core of our abundance is found in our relationship to God. Marriage or no marriage, this career or that one, this home or that one—every set of options we face, whether this hour or years down the road, becomes the raw material for a life of holy relationship.

When God watches me make a decision, I imagine that divine attention is focused on the direction of my heart. Do I move toward greater faith, hope, and love, or toward greater fear, negativity, and selfishness? Do I grow a little more Godward in the routine decision I make this morning? Does the process of discernment stimulate me to more prayer and attention? Do I choose out of love—even if, technically speaking, I don’t make the best choice?

God gazes upon us, every moment, with compassion, grace, and creativity. If I botch a decision today, divine creativity will still bring from that choice growth and forward motion—if I seek grace and creativity and if I am open to God’s involvement.

I don’t believe my mistakes and missteps make God upset with me or nervous about my future. Neither is God waiting for me to mess up so that I can be taught a lesson. God does wait and watch—to see if I will invite divine participation into my worst day, my most chaotic plan, my most botched decision.

My decisions do bear consequences, but God has never allowed consequences to limit what can be done with a life. Frankly, even if I were able to make excellent decisions for years on end, I would still be living in a world affected by a lot of bad decisions by other people, some of them very close to me.

God can work with our decisions, but God will not force our hearts to open and welcome divine love. For that, God will always watch and wait.

About Vinita Hampton Wright 186 Articles
Vinita Hampton Wright has served as senior editor at Loyola Press for 16 years and recently became managing editor of the trade books department. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places with HarperOne, Days of Deepening Friendship and The Art of Spiritual Writing for Loyola Press, and most recently, The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book for Paraclete Press. Vinita is a student and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality, and from 2009 to 2015 she blogged at Days of Deepening Friendship. For the past few years, she has co-led small groups through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three cats, and a dog. In her “spare” time these days, she is working on her next novel.

12 Comments on Our Choices as God Might See Them

  1. Always something to give thought to and also consoling in times of great sorrow. Thank you and may God Bless you and keep you writing and enlightening so many.

  2. //God can work with our decisions, but God will not force our hearts to open and welcome divine love. For that, God will always watch and wait.//
    Love this one. I find it timely for me. I guess I’ve been having a hard time letting God in my life and say yes. As my friend told me, Ignatian spirituality helps us to say yes to God when the time comes.

  3. This line speaks to me, “If I botch a decision today, divine creativity will still bring from that choice growth and forward motion—if I seek grace and creativity and if I am open to God’s involvement.” I have experienced that truth in my life but today, reading these words, I can embrace it & know it as part of God’s loving plan.
    P.S. prayers for your reader struggling with the broken marriage—May you find peace.

  4. Thanks. As I face the consequences of my husband leaving me, I try very hard to hope that his decision will not limit God do great things in my life, either… thogh I’m very close to despairing at present.

    • The grace in your life does not depend on your husband! I’m so sorry you’re going through this, but trust that Divine Love is with you every moment and creative enough to do continuing wonders in your life.

  5. What a wonderful gift this is to me!! I’ve struggled mightily about my past choices and decisions and how God views them and me.
    I truly believe this is God’s way of lifting this burden I’ve been carryyfir so long. Thank You!

  6. I always feel that I’ve got a fresh idea or thought most of the time I read your article.

    Thank you very much…I feel so grateful ..

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