The Decision Fatigue We’ll Face as We Adjust to Life after the Pandemic // Ep. 026

 

We’re all reemerging at different speeds from a season of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. But instead of feeling freedom and optimism, many of us are facing new challenges. One of those challenges is being overwhelmed by having choices again and then feeling judged for the choices we’ll be making for our families. If that feels hard for you right now like it does for me, this episode is here to help. We’re going to talk about how to be confident in the decisions we will make by battling against two big enemies when it comes to decision making: fear and guilt.

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Episode 26, June 1st The Decision Fatigue We’ll Face as We Adjust to Life after the Pandemic

Hi, friends! This is self-care and soul care for the caregiver, and I’m your host, Sandra Peoples. To us, self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. We want to take better care of ourselves so we’re able to care for our loved ones who rely on us. That’s why we abide in Christ as we live out our mission.

This is episode 26, and if you’re listening in real time, we’re all reemerging at different speeds from a season of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. But instead of feeling freedom and optimism, many of us are facing new challenges. One of those challenges is being overwhelmed by having choices again and feeling judged for the choices we’ll be making for our families. If that feels hard for you right now like it does for me, this episode is here to help. We’re going to talk about how to be confident in the decisions we will make by battling against two big enemies when it comes to decision making: fear and guilt.

Before we jump into today’s topic, I want to mention the sponsor for this week’s episode! It’s By the Brook, a virtual conference for female caregivers hosted by my friends at Rising Above Ministries! Be sure to listen all the way to the end of the episode to find out how to register for free!

The number one most downloaded episode in the history of this podcast so far is episode 006 on decision fatigue. As caregivers, we’re especially susceptible to the exhaustion that can come from making too many decisions because we make more than most other people make. But for the last few months, decision fatigue has been low for most of us. We haven’t had as many options as we usually do. That lack of options can bring comfort in chaotic times because the decisions have been made for us. We’ve haven’t worried about what to wear each day because we aren’t seeing anyone outside of our families. We had to meal plan ahead of time because we couldn’t go to the store as often or because we were ordering groceries and picking them up or having them delivered. Over the last few months, many of our decisions have been streamlined or even eliminated.

That’s why the coming weeks may feel harder than the previous months. Going forward, you have the ability and the responsibility to make more decisions for yourself and your family. It’s already happening here in Texas as we seem to be on the fast track to opening. We had our first in person church service yesterday. My older son David is taking a test at the offices for the school district this week. James is back at the therapy offices. And I’m weighing each and every decision we face with extra scrutiny. Is this best for us? Our health? Our mental health? Is this best for others we care about, like extended family members and friends? Is this best for our community? There are so many angles to consider.

Not only am I weighing these extra factors, I’m also considering how we’ll be judged or perceived by others for each decision. Somehow wearing a mask or not wearing a mask has become a political statement. And not just that, we are a ministry family. So my husband’s decisions affect our entire church, which could affect our community. And our goal as a church is to make the most vulnerable people feel welcome and comfortable, not the strongest or most outspoken. For that reason, we are wearing masks more often and, in more places, than most of the people who live in our town. That is somehow opening us up to lot of opinions on our faith, politics, and even intelligence. Who would have ever imagined that to be the case a few months ago?

And even if you don’t feel like your decisions are being judged by your church or community, it is true the decisions you’ll make will look different from your best friend’s or your mom’s. And sometimes that very personal feeling of judgment is even harder to face. As caregivers, we have more factors to consider than typical families do. We may have to put health needs above the desire to hang out with friends again. Or even the desire to be at church again.

So as we face this new season of making more decisions than we have before and feeling judged for those decisions, I have a phrase I want you to remember: “I’m making the best decision I can with the information I have.” I’m going to say it again: “I’m making the best decision I can with the information I have.” This phrase will free us not only from decision fatigue as we make more and more decisions in this new season, but also from fear and guilt when making those decisions.

Why do I bring up fear and guilt in a conversation about making decisions? Well, because they are two of the most common motivators for making decisions, but they are also two of the worst. Here’s why fear and guilt are so dangerous as motivators for making decisions: Fear keeps you focused on an unknown future, and guilt keeps you focused on an unchangeable past. As we talk about having wisdom to make the best decisions possible for our families, let’s look at why fear and guilt are such bad guides.

First, fear has always been a factor is some of the decisions we make. Some fears are healthy and helpful. I wear a seatbelt because I’m a little fearful that being in an accident without one will be more dangerous than with one. But when fear takes over, when it becomes THE motivator, we are living as practical atheists—like those who have no faith. I’m sure you’ve heard that “do not fear” is one of the most often used commands in the Bible. Why would God have to remind us so often not to fear? Because He knew we would forget who is really in charge—Him. You can’t control every “what if” situation. You can’t plan for every possible scenario. And if you live too much in this unknown future, trying to control any possible outcome, it overwhelms you because you aren’t designed to carry that burden. Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Do you see your role in this verse and His role? Your role is to seek the Lord. His role is to answer and deliver you from all your fears. As you make decisions this week, pay attention to what is motivating those decisions. And if you feel like fear is taking over, ask God for wisdom, turn your fear over to Him, and remember our phrase, “I’m making the best decision I can with the information I have.”

The second dangerous motivator for making decisions is guilt. As I said earlier, guilt keeps you focused on an unchangeable past. You wish you could undo or redo something that’s already been done. And since you can’t, you let that guilt speak louder than other factors when making a decision, clouding your reasoning. It also keeps you trapped in a place God has already brought you out of. With Him, there is no condemnation, no blame or punishment.You can turn away from guilt and toward the future and hope that Christ provides! Paul wrote these words to the church at Philippi and they are still true for believers today: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Don’t let guilt control your decision making. Remember that Jesus, who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion. He will give you wisdom to make decisions as you continue to follow him. If you feel guilt trying to take over when you make a decision, if you hear a voice that says, You’ve blown it before and you’re about to blow it again, remember to pray and ask for God’s wisdom. Then you can confidently say, “I am making the best decision I can with the information I have.”

Friends, remember your job as you make decisions in this new and ever-changing season—to live in the present with faith in God. You can fight against decision fatigue and the fear and guilt that try to influence your decisions as you trust in Him.

Our topic today reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman. Verse 25 says “… and she laughs at the time to come.” But she doesn’t laugh at the time to come because she has it all figured out. She laughs because she has confidence in the One who does. And that One, God Himself, will give you wisdom when you ask for it as you make decisions during this difficult time. Let’s pray to Him now:

God, You have been faithful and gracious to us during this season of extra challenges. We confess that we need You even more each new day as we face different opportunities. Give us the wisdom You promise as we make the best decisions, we can with the information we have. We don’t want to be held back by fear or guilt. We want to live in the freedom You provide as we follow the direction of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for being active in our lives and in our world, bringing every detail together for your glory. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.  

Thanks for joining me today as we talked about The Decision Fatigue We’ll Face as We Adjust to Life after the Pandemic. When we spend this time together, it helps me remember I’m not alone. I’m so thankful we all have the desire to be #abidingcaregivers, fully relying on Him. I’m also thankful for the ways you share the podcast during the week and for the reviews you leave! Two listeners left reviews just last week! Let me share them with you so I can say thank you! KRF78 said “I’m so thankful for Sandra’s wisdom and encouragement. Her podcast is a must-listen!” Thank you KRF78! That is so encouraging to me! And KateeMiller said, “I’m so happy to find a podcast filled with truth by a mom who has gone before me. And Sandra shares her experience in a way that is easy to hear and encouraging to any caregiver.” Thank you, KateeMiller! I’m so happy you found us as well! If you have time to leave a review, it’s such a huge help when others are looking for the hope and the help I try to provide each week!

Now let me tell you more about this week’s sponsor, Rising Above’s upcoming conference for female caregivers called By the Brook! It’s held each summer in Tennessee, but this year it’s open to all of us because it’s happening virtually on June 26th and 27th. Depending on the restrictions where you live, you can participate with a small group of friends in someone’s home, with a small gathering at a church, or individually at your house. Just register for free by visiting www.risingaboveministries.org/bythebrook I’ll be speaking via video Friday night on a topic I know you’re already passionate about—self-care and soul care! Again, remember to register for free at www.risingaboveministries.org/bythebrook

Thanks again for listening, and I’ll meet you back here next week!

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