Dr. Randy Carlson
People are really struggling during this global pandemic. Many are not even aware how much the stress of what is going on in the world is impacting them. I’m feeling it, and so I certainly believe others must, as well.
We live in a very chaotic world. As believers we pray for peace on the streets of America, wisdom for our leaders and for godly men and women to rise in leadership. The times we live in call for these things to weigh on our minds, and so we pray, as we should. We pray for justice in our country, for peace between people. A future exists post-COVID. God has plans and intentions for us.
In a previous blog, 3 Things Needed for a Post COVID World, I shared three practical, basic, and very intentional things we need in a post-COVID world. The first one is to decide how you intend to live.
The Circle of Control
In making decisions about how we choose to live, I want to represent decision making in two circles. Within the first circle – the circle of control – encompasses the things in our lives that we have no control over.
Things you have control over include:
- Your attitude.
- Your thinking. In fact, the scripture tells us to take captive every thought out of obedience to Christ. Philippians 4:8: Whatever is right and pure and admirable, praiseworthy think on such things. So clearly God has given us control over what we choose to think.
- What comes out of your mouth – what you choose to say.
- How you interact with others.
- How you choose to handle your finances.
- How you choose to handle your health.
We have this opportunity to make decisions about how we are going to choose to live as we go into this post-COVID world. “Figure out what pleases Christ and then do it” (Ephesians 5:10 MSG). We are to do those things that bring Him glory, and benefit our family, our community and ourselves.
We can decide and choose how we are going to do these five essential areas of our lives, building our faith, interacting with our family, handling our finances, taking care of our health and how we approach our work. These are five areas, and there are others that we do have control over.
Circle of Concern
The second circle, the circle of concern, are things that worry us.
- What’s going to happen with COVID?
- When is it going to end?
- Is there going to be a vaccine?
- What’s going to happen in the economy?
- Who is going to be elected the next President and the next Senate and House?
- What about my kids?
We have many concerns that we have no control over. Our circle of concern has grown in our world. It seems almost chaotic with all the things going. When we watch the news, go online or interact with people, the circle of concern weighs on us. We have to give everything within the circle of concern to God.
We have a feature online called The Intentionals, where I take a top ten list on a certain topic and list those tens things out. A few years ago, I created one that included the top ten questions that we need to ask ourselves when we are considering making an important decision, but I’ll note a couple of them in the list that are important as we make decisions about what our lives will be like in the future. (Get the complete list here.)
- VISION: Will the decisions I’m making for my life move me closer to a life goal or towards solving a problem in my life? Philippians 3:14 says, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (NLT). The decisions you make can move you in the right direction, the big picture of how you want to end.
- INTEGRITY: Will this decision affect any commitments or vows that I have made in life?
- GOD’s WORD: Does the Bible speak to decisions? As I’m trying to make decisions about my life and relationships and culture and what have you, what does God’s Word have to say about it?
- TIMING: Is this the best time to make a decision? I suspect there’s going to be a lot of people making decisions in the midst of this COVID-19 that they will later regret. We see some of the things going on in the streets of America that probably wouldn’t have happened six months ago.
Most of us are in the process of making decisions, so I hope you find it helpful to consider the circles of control, the circles of concern and then the process you go through to make a decision, because decision-making is important.
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