4 Ways to Combat Decision-Making Paralysis

by Christie Burnett - December 7, 2021

Do you ever find yourself feeling stuck in life—unable to make commitments and important life decisions? Here’s how to break free.

Do you sometimes feel as though you’ve accomplished nothing and can’t move forward? If we look to Scripture, we find that God not only warns us of specific deterrents to accomplishment, but also reveals the path to achievement and Christian growth.

Key deterrents

When we, as Christians, experience negative consequences in our lives, we should ask, “What am I doing wrong?” or “What have I done (or not done) that has produced these consequences?” In our attempt to overcome decision-making paralysis, we frequently find one or more of the following three traits to be at the root of the problem.


It’s fairly easy to recognize when this habit is present. The book of Proverbs shows us many examples of what laziness can look like in a person’s life, and it clearly displays the consequences. It’s so easy for many of us either to come up with excuses to be idle or to trade hard work for fun and leisure (Proverbs 26:13-16; 12:11).

Fear and worry

A big problem many conscientious Christians run into is worrying about making the wrong decision in a given matter. We try to apply God’s commands to every part of our lives, but sometimes we honestly don’t know how to apply God’s Word to the decision we’re making. Worrying about making the wrong decision in these instances can often deter us from pulling the trigger—that is, making a decision and moving forward.

Additionally, well-meaning people can also be stifled by the fear of unavoidable risks. We place ourselves in vulnerable positions every time we get in a car, step into an elevator, chop vegetables or open up to others in conversation. Imagine what life would be like if we held ourselves back from these integral parts of life because of the risks involved—life would be suffocating!

One of the most detrimental of these fears is the fear of failure. This fear has the potential to scare us away from opportunities that might contribute significantly to our growth.


Another culprit that can paralyze us is pride. When “what if I fail?” is accompanied by “how will others view me if I fail?” it’s safe to say that there’s a bit of pride that needs to be rooted out of our thoughts.

Counteracting the deterrents

The Bible shows us how to overcome or counteract these deterrents.

1. Do our homework.

One activity that can help us take initiative and become more confident in decision making is doing our homework. This involves researching and gaining knowledge about the decision at hand. When we familiarize ourselves with pertinent information, we may find that some of the unforeseen complications we once worried about seem less daunting (Luke 14:28-31).

2. Seek wise counsel.

Scripture advises us to reach out to trusted, reputable and knowledgeable individuals who can help us work through the options in front of us (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22). When we know that someone with more life experience supports our decisions, it’s easier to commit with fewer regrets.

3. Trust in God and pull the trigger!

If after doing our homework and seeking wise counsel, we still find ourselves slipping into the habit of agonizing over every decision we make, we ought to take a step back and look at what God really wants from us. 

Proverbs 3:6 tells us to acknowledge God in all our ways, and “He shall direct your paths.” God knows our hearts and can bless us when we earnestly seek His will through prayer, fasting and Bible study (providing our approach is submissive). Sometimes we have to make decisions in faith knowing that we tried our best and that God will be with us whatever happens.  

4. Act!

At some point, we must act on our plans. If we’re not careful, we can remain in “planning mode” indefinitely and never pull the trigger.

Review the stories of those who demonstrated faith in Hebrews 11. These individuals acted on their faith. Additionally, James reminds us that Abraham’s “faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect” (James 2:22).

The big picture

In the end, we have to understand that our duty in life essentially comes down to following God to the best of our abilities. With this foundation firmly in place, we can make good decisions by doing our homework, getting wise counsel, and ultimately implementing a course of action.

If we follow these biblical guidelines and fully yield to God, we can gain confidence from God’s comforting words in Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

For more insight, read “Decision Making: Seven Steps for Making Good, Christian Choices.”

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