Decision making is more than good intentions

One of the most destructive and rapidly spreading invasive species on the continent has been found for the first time in a Canadian national park.

Driving along the road of Elk Island National Park, you see bison grazing in the prairie fields. Sometimes on the road a bison will walk in front or alongside your car. In midday you are less likely to see any bison as they stay in shaded areas dense with poplar and evergreen trees. 

Bison grazing in Elk Island Provincial Park
Bison grazing in Elk Island National Park

What you hope to not see is a wild pig. 

Unfortunately, “the most destructive and rapidly spreading invasive species on the continent”— wild pigs— have been spotted in the park; a first for a national park in Canada. 

“They contaminate water with mud and pathogens, they destroy crops, they are a public safety hazard and they transmit disease to human, pets, livestock and wildlife.” (Global News)

Wild pigs were brought into Saskatchewan and Alberta to help farms diversify but some pigs escaped.

It’s unfortunate an intentionally good plan ended up creating destruction. 

Destructive paths can be created from good intentions. 

Destructive paths can be started by believing the good outranks the risk.

Forest Path
Siffleur Falls hike, Alberta Canada

When I was 14 years old, I got my first job at a fast-food restaurant. The $5.25 p/h wage seemed like a win-fall back then compared to my babysitting jobs of $2 p/hr. So I eagerly said yes to evening shifts, no matter the day. My good intention of saving money outranked my risk of falling behind in my school work. My teenage mind convinced me I could handle my work shifts and my school work–no problem! Well, within three months I had fallen so behind in Chemistry, I had to take Chemistry again in summer school, destroying my summer holiday plans. 

The example I shared is a lighter one, although I have experienced heartbreaking and ruinous consequences from other choices!

A few examples of good intentions that can go wrong:

1. Good intention of saying yes to go for lunch with a single co-worker leading to an uncomfortable work environment and destroying trust in your marriage.

2. Good intention of buying a gift beyond your budget that leads to a debt that takes you months to pay-off (and causes you mental stress).

3. Good intention of supporting a friend by saying “yes” to joining her into a situation where you compromise your own values. 

What can help us make good choices that keep us away from destructive paths?

Three steps for decision making beyond good intentions

1. Prayer and  asking others to pray for us. We don’t have to disclose our situations to ask for prayer. God knows. 

2. Confide in a safe person who knows you well and also shares your values.

3. Write a pros and cons list before making any decision. Ask a trusted friend, advisor, coach or co-worker to review the list and add other risks that you missed. (Often we are too close to a situation to have a clear picture.) 

Scripture for good decisions

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

What other ways helps us make good decisions beyond our good intentions?

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  1. Wow, I had no idea that wild pigs had made it into Canada! There are so many object lessons for us to show us how boundaries can be good for us–especially the boundaries set by the Lord. I’m still learning that too!

  2. Lynn, you share great suggestions for making good decisions. I’ve come to the place where, if someone asks me to commit to something, I always pray first. Or, if I know that it’s not within my ability or my life-focus to do the thing, I decline. It’s tough sometimes, but that “no” saves a lot of stress and disappointment later on.

    1. Hi Jeanne, You’ve reminded me of scripture that says to make our yes “yes” and our no “no.” And to do that, we really need to pray first over all our decisions! Always a pleasure to see you here!

  3. You have made wise suggestions in making decisions. Taking a bit of time before moving forward can reveal whether it is a good decision or not. May the Lord help us all to seek Him for wisdom in our decisions.

  4. Oh my! I didn’t know wild pigs can cause so much destruction, Lynn. And what a great lesson you shared from that example. Thank you, also for the beautiful breathing spaces in your photos! Love and blessings to you!

  5. Lynn, you give good steps ‘for decision making beyond good intentions’ and I’ll answer your question in what other ways we can make good decisions. I use James 3:17, to test things “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” [James 3:17 NASB]

    I’ll go through the list – Is this pure? Is this peaceable? Is this gentle? Is this reasonable? Is this full of mercy? Is this full of good fruits? Does this waver? Is this hypocritical? (Does it line up with the Character of God?) By the time I get to the end of that list, I usually have an answer about the decision before me. It is a very helpful gauge in decision making.

  6. We definitely need God’s wisdom in our decisions. As you say, when we decide by ourselves, even if we have good intentions it doesn’t always lead to a good result.

  7. I’ve seen the destruction that feral pigs can bring. I’m sorry to hear they’re migrating into the park.

    I’ve been wrestling with a good intention that needs to be backed up by much wisdom! I am continuing to wait on the Lord with my decision for the proper timing and wording before I act on my intention. Thanks for your wisdom here, Lynn!

  8. Lynn, your post truly touched a chord for me, my past is strewn with many poor decisions. Most before I became a Christian, but sadly plenty even after I knew better. Your object lesson really sticks with me reminding me of the “destructive” paths decisions made outside of God’s wisdom can be, for time is a deceiver and we tend to think things weren’t as bad “back then” sometimes! Great advice here!

  9. Wise advice here, Lynn. Those times I have used a pro/con list to process a decision, I’ve sometimes prayerfully added scores to the list based on how important a “pro” or “con” is–3 for highly important, 2 for somewhat important, 1 for slightly important, and 0 for not important at all. Add up the scores and chances are one decision will come out on top. I also think confiding in and praying with another person, someone who’s proven themselves to be wise and respected, is also an important strategy.