My Big Playground

Psychological and physiological trauma can generate a vast array of symptoms in people relative to the magnitude of trauma experienced. One symptom that can occur is difficulty making decisions. This happens to be one I’ve wrestled with and for a long time, I had no idea why making a decision was paralyzing for me.

Being a Christian added another layer of complexity to my desire to make the right decision. Right referring to the one that pleases and honors God. Thus, when faced with multiple options I often became overwhelmed.

Praise God, I had a breakthrough in this area a few years ago. I sought counsel from the elders of my church when I found myself stuck. There were two good conferences at the same time. The schedules overlapped and they were in different states so I had to make a choice, it was impossible to attend both.

After I queried, “When there are multiple options before you, how do you know which is right? Which choice is God’s will?”

Several of the men shared practical Godly wisdom regarding discernment. I was stunned by the concept that not every decision in life results in one being “right” and the other “wrong” as I had been thinking. Then one of the pastors used an analogy I will never forget because it freed me from the paralysis. I still slip into primal default thinking but now have the tools to get back to freedom.

A Life-changing Discourse:

Pastor: “If the choices before you do not violate a moral or ethical law and there is no Biblical command against either — you just choose.”

Me: “But how do I know which is God’s best?”

Pastor: “Imagine you have a fenced-in yard. Inside that yard, you have a swing set and a sandbox. When your child asks if they can go outside and play. You answer, ‘Yes, but stay inside the fenced yard.’ You don’t care if the child plays in the sandbox OR on the swings because you’ve provided both for their enjoyment and pleasure. Your parental concern is that they stay within the safety of the boundaries you declared.”

Me: “You’re telling me, sometimes God gives us choices just so we can pick what we want or prefer?”

Pastor: “Yes. When you’re paralyzed by the choice it’s like the child going into the yard and fretting over whether they should play on the swing or in the sandbox. Imagine the child nervously thinking, ‘Should I swing or should I play in the sandbox. Oh, what should I do, what should I do? I don’t know which one is right. I want to do the right thing. I don’t know what to do. I’d like to swing but what if that’s the wrong choice. Mom didn’t tell me which one to do.’ The child paces back and forth, losing their playtime due to gnawing indecision.”

Me: I saw how silly my overwhelming fear of choice must have looked to my Heavenly Father. In an instant, overwhelming love washed over me. I began to laugh as my tension ebbed away.

Pastor: “Does that help clarify things?”

Me: “Yes!” I added with a chuckle, “For the analogy to accurately fit my life and my Father; the yard would have more than swings and a sandbox. The choices in my yard are more like swings, sandbox, teeter-totter, slide, monkey bars, and playhouse. My Father is generous, gracious, and likes to give good gifts.”

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17, CSB).

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:13, CSB).

Dear Reader, if you freeze up with worry when a choice is before you. Ask yourself, does the option violate God’s moral law? Is it unethical? Will it cause harm to myself or others? Does it violate any Biblical command? If not enjoy the free will that God has given you and make a choice — don’t stress.

Prayer
Dear Father God, thank You for giving us free will. Holy Spirit, guide us with discernment to make good and wise choices. Help us remember to be grateful for every good gift Jehovah provides. Let us emulate You by being generous with our gifts. Amen.

Author Bio
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About page if you want to read more of my story.

Would you like to know more about the afterlife and how you can be assured of eternity in Heaven? Check the Questions page.

Check the Free Gifts page for downloadable/printable study guides and resources.

Copyright © 2020-2022 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.


Image of backyard playground by markus53 from Pixabay.
Image of yellow smiley sand bucket by congerdesign from Pixabay.

Published by musingsofmanettekay

Sharing bits of memoir in the format of devotionals, prayers, short stories, and occasionally a poem.

25 thoughts on “My Big Playground

    1. Jo, it is great advice. Because pastor told the story as a word picture has made it stick with me. Originally, it wasn’t his. He used to struggle and wrestle with the “right” decision and a spiritual mentor had told my pastor that story. Our Father is so good. It benefited me as it was retold and now you and others.

      This event happened prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. I had to make a choice between a writers conference I’d attended before and a Biblical counseling conference that I’d also attended previously. Each had great content and could offer me new growth and develop different areas of knowledge and wisdom.

      Now, remembering back to that incident seems so silly–like the little child. How much playtime (time enjoying God’s grace of the present) did/do I lose when fretting over a free will choice?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Such a pertinent question Manette that we can all ask! “How much time enjoying God’s grace of the present did/do I lose when fretting over a free will choice?” Thankyou for this encouraging post! x

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Pastor Pete, I find it gets easier with practice. I’m glad my sharing has offered a bit of “Son” shine to melt away the icy entrapments of the evil enemy.

      There is freedom of choice as long as we stay within the boundaries set. Outside of the fence is where the choices have a definitive right and wrong.

      Like

  1. Thank you so, so much Manette! This post speaks clearly to me in my constant battle with decision making and memory issues caused by my brain disorder. God bless you sister.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Alan, thank you for being transparent in your struggle. By the comments, this is a story resonating with others. Again, I can see how the enemy works. He likes to make us feel “alone” in our battles.

      If you see my reply to Jo, my pastor wrestled with this very thing. Often the enemy puts doubt in my mind when writing and then when I press forward God uses it to help others.

      May Jehovah bless you and all reading with new freedom within His established fence lines.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post! This is how Gods law gives us freedom. I’ve not seen that so clearly before. Within His boundaries, we’re free to live and enjoy. Blessings to you, Manette!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, Mama Lava! God’s law [the fence] gives freedom. Getting paralyzed by the very freedom intended for my joy and pleasure is so ridiculous. Remembering and retelling the story gives great joy and confidence now. A right permissive confidence to enjoy God’s gifts. Jehovah bless you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A great story to pass along Manette. I have not struggled much through life in decision making, until retirement. So now I meet the indecision beast that many have conquered by now. Maybe it’s a good thing my playground is getting smaller. I shall remember that story and tuck it in my tool chest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing, Gary. I presumed there would be some who won’t relate to my indecision. It’s not an area my husband struggled with, he would be quick to make a choice. But then wrestle with regret sometimes.

      I think that is the other end of the spectrum. The enemy messes with us either way. Glad to hear this has provided another tool for your chest.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this Manette. I struggle with decisions and fret over making the right one and often losing sleep over it. This analogy of the fenced in yard and choice within that really puts things into perspective.
    God bless you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Manu, I pray this will help you leave fretting behind to enjoy time “in the yard” of our Lord’s boundaries.

      Praise be to our gracious Father for prompting me to share this story. It is resonating with many.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this post early this morning, and kept thinking about your pastor’s story off and on all day! The enemy loves to sow doubts in our minds, but the truth is, as long as we stay on God’s approved “playground “ we are safe. Excellent post, Manette Kay! God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David, thank you for returning and leaving such a wonderful affirmation of truth and encouragement. Jehovah is so great. He knows just when a story needs to be told.

      The irony is that before, under the shadow of the enemies lies, I felt like others didn’t struggle with decisions. Recently, I read a little blurb that brought this back to mind as if I should share it. May the Lord continue to minister through you at school and your writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, that was just what I needed to read today! Thank you so much for sharing these encouraging nuggets of wisdom, and your personal experiences that led you to this wisdom. Blessings to you today, Manette!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Simply B. It fills me with great joy when people share such thoughts. May the gratitude be given where it is truly due to the Heavenly Father from whence the wisdom originates. Blessings to you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. MK, I love your series of four questions right before the prayer! My oldest brother, now in heaven, once said that if he had peace about a decision, then he knew it was the right one for him; the converse was also true. For another believer, however, that same decision might not be the right one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keith, I’ve known many who rely on the “peace” factor. That can be an indicator except in times when a person has become comfortable with or desensitized to a particular sin in their life. In that case, a little self-evaluation may tune their heart towards the gentle correction of the Holy Spirit.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. MK, the context was that my brother had been accepted into a Ph.D. program in ornithology, and he inexplicably turned down the opportunity. Years (?) later, when I talked to him about it, he said that it was something he had been pursuing; however, when the door opened, he couldn’t walk through it because he didn’t have peace about it. That has stuck with me.

    At the same time, I appreciate what you wrote about people who have become comfortable with a particular sin but who might say they have peace (albeit not the kind in Philippians 4:6) about it. I guess then the “decision” is to continue in the sin.

    Liked by 1 person

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