How to Make Big Decisions Wisely: A Biblical and Science Guide to Healthier Habits, Less Stress, a Better Career, and Much More

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title:

How to Make Big Decisions Wisely: A Biblical and Science Guide to Healthier Habits, Less Stress, a Better Career, and Much More

Author:

Alan Ehler

Publisher:

Zondervan

Publication Date:

February 1, 2020

Format:

Softcover (paperback)

Length:

208 pages

OVERVIEW

When given a big dilemma, people either choose what to do based on their gut (quick decisions) or with some longer decision-making process (pros and cons lists, advice from others, etc.). But how do we know when to use which method? What longer decision-making process should we use? Alan Ehler shows readers how to navigate this murky problem. He starts by explaining how perspectives change how people see things, and therefore when quick decisions work. For those times when people need a longer process, he explains how to use Story-Shaping, a decision-making process that asks:

  • What is my situation (my “current story” and why is it happening?
  • What is God’s perspective on what’s happening?
  • What are my various options here?
  • What do I do to “tell my new story” once I’ve picked my option?

He combines practical theology and scientific research to show how readers can answer these questions and reach practical decisions.

Ehler does an excellent job of distilling a wide variety of ideas from different fields into a well-organized process. He particularly does a great job of explaining how look for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, a topic many Christian authors don’t explain well.

The book’s only real downside is Ehler doesn’t take his story-telling metaphor far enough. He explains how people’s lives are stories and briefly suggests looking at how authors or filmmakers tell stories can show people how to improve their own life stories. After that he doesn’t take this idea very far until the book’s last chapters, when he begins referring to it again in detail. This is particularly interesting since Ehler’s idea closely parallels ones from Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero With A Thousand Faces. References to Campbell’s work (or Christopher Vogler’s book The Writer’s Journey, which explores Campbell’s ideas from another angle) might have made Ehler’s explanation of story-forming more compelling.

Aside from not developing his “story-formed life” concept enough, Ehler gives readers an excellent book on how to handle tough dilemmas wisely.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

4.5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians looking for a wise, Biblically-centered process to find solutions to complex problems.

Christian Impact

This book will help readers use logic, understanding of their own personalities, and Biblical guidance to navigate life’s gray areas.

About ECLA Web Team

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals. This account is managed by the ECLA Web Team.

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