I was having a discussion with a friend one day about a situation that had some controversial aspects to it, and I stated that I could see the good and bad of both sides. I also added that I seem to be able to do this with other situations. His response? “That’s a gift. The problem, however, is knowing which side or solution to recommend.” I didn’t have the heart to disagree with him about it being a “gift.” It’s what I call the curse of indecisiveness. Anyone who has ever been to a restaurant with me has experienced this! Unless I look at the restaurant’s website in advance or it’s a place I frequent, it can take me up to ten minutes or more to figure out what I want. When the server finally gets to me in the line-up, I waver on what to order even though I already had my mind made up before they got there. What else can I do? There are just so many wonderful things to choose from!
I’ve always wondered why I have such a hard time making decisions. Even the really easy ones stump me, like do I hit a drive-thru or fix something at home? Or which drive-thru do I want to hit for lunch? Or which bottle of ketchup do I buy? Then one day, for whatever reason, I was thinking about how it seems like none of my sisters have the right traits for their birth order, including me. So I did a little research online. Dr. Kevin Leman says this about the youngest, “Babies of the family are social and outgoing, they are the most financially irresponsible of all birth orders. They just want to have a good time. Knowing that these kids love the limelight, it’s no surprise to discover that Billy Crystal, Goldie Hawn, Drew Carey, and Steve Martin are all lastborns.”
Allow me to get sidetracked right here. First of all, I hate the phrase “baby of the family!” It irritates the heck out of me when my sisters introduce me as their “baby sister” when I’m approaching 50. ‘Cmon, really? Maybe I should retaliate and refer to them as my “aging” sisters! Okay…now I’m really digressing. Second, this summary doesn’t describe me at all. While I enjoy hanging out and talking with friends, I am not outgoing. In fact, I am shy by nature. I don’t know why people don’t believe me when I say that, but it’s very true. I’ve just grown out of it quite a bit. But put me in a room or situation where I don’t know anyone, and I revert back to my shy, awkward self hanging out on the sidelines. I am also very (or at least mostly) financially responsible, and I hate being the center of attention. I’m more than happy to stay behind the scenes. So let’s get back on track and look at another brief description of the youngest born.
West Coast Wellness Group adds this: “Youngest children grow up having others make decisions for them and thus, as adults, have far less confidence about decision-making in early and mid-adult life.”
THAT explains it! Everyone else made decisions for me when I was growing up, so why bother? I’m not sure if that’s exactly the case, but I can only assume it to be true since they talked for me. After all, I didn’t start talking till I was 4 years old. (As you can imagine, there’s a whole other story right there!) There are very few decisions I can remember from my younger years that I was confident in making or knew I wanted. One was playing the clarinet (had to actually beg mom to take me to the school to sign up) and another was going to Bible College to study for ministry. Oh, and we can’t leave out my decision to follow Christ.
With this lack of decision-making skills, God knew what He was doing when He called me to ministry and not some other career that required making decisions on the spur of the moment. I have to weigh all the pros and cons plus get input from not one, but several people. And even then, I can change my mind once I make a decision. Here’s a perfect example of this: When I was just a couple of months away from my Bible College graduation, my ministry appointment was on the verge of falling through. What was I going to do now? All year I had plans to go to a certain place and then it had the possibility of not happening. Then another offer came through. Oh great…this is when I had to make a decision. After weighing the pros and cons of both places and talking it through with several friends, I made a decision. One of those friends made me write it on a piece of paper and place it on the floor next to my bed. He said to me, “Now when you wake up in the morning and want to change your mind, you can’t.” He knew me well. As soon as I woke up the next morning I began thinking, “Maybe I should go to _______.” Then I saw that piece of paper. Never mind!
While I’m still not quite sure if this indecisiveness is a gift, like my friend suggests, I do think it can become a gift if I’m able to develop it to the point where I’m able to recommend the better solution. Now here’s the real question: How do I gain the confidence in making decisions and develop the gift of recommending one side? Here’s my answer (whether it’s right or not, I don’t know): Practice, practice, practice!