How to Make Decisions with Courage and Hope

How to Make Decisions with Courage and Hope

I sat at my computer for most of the day, anxiously researching and hoping to find a bright light, an answer, a certainty to the decision I had to eventually make.

There was no bright light.

There was no reliable, resolved or resolute answer.

I was overwhelmed and tired.

I have three amazing children. They each have gifts, talents, skills, not to mention faults, weaknesses and insecurities. And they are being led by a mama with gifts, talents, skills, and lots of faults, weaknesses and insecurities! It’s almost comical!

I mean, seriously ya’ll, how did I get trusted with making decisions for these people when I have a hard time deciding between a skinny vanilla latte and a chai tea latte? 

It was one thing when they were babies, right?  Pampers™ or Huggies™? Thumb sucking or pacifier? But what about the more pressing concerns as they get older? Which activities should they pursue? Which classes should they take? Which schools should they attend? 

The decision making never stops. And yeah, we are doing it, mamas! We are making decisions ALL. THE. TIME. We have raised little people into somewhat older people and we are certainly not perfect, but we are figuring this whole parenting gig out.

Why don’t I feel so confident in my decision making skills? 

Every decision that we make tells us a little bit more about who we are, what we hope for, our convictions and desires. The outcome of my decision counts on hope. Hope that whatever move I make next will be assured of good things.

Of course we want to make wise decisions, but mostly, we want to make hope-filled decisions, resting in the surety that nothing bad will come of those decisions. Unfortunately, we all know that that is not always the case. If we could be certain that only good would come from every decision, then we would not be obsessing about such decisions.

Before you hope, you have to have courage. 

Perhaps you find yourself where I am. I mean, holy cow, we made some crazy decisions in 2020, amiright? Some of us decided to homeschool because of the pandemic. Some of us had to make decisions on what was best for balancing work and home and children in the midst of the chaos of 2020. Some of us are still managing {and even sometimes questioning} those decisions, wondering, did we make the right call? Did we mess this up? All these decisions had uncertainties and were risky with an unforeseeable future.

How do we move from uncertain to decided with confidence? 

I have homeschooled my son since Kindergarten. I have prayed and researched and mulled over this decision for 11 years. I have sought the advice of those who have gone before me. I have reflected over each year and walked this path resolved to continue until change was inevitable. Well, change is perhaps now, inevitable. And so, we are making decisions and truth be told, I’m scared, worried and uncertain. 

Maybe you aren’t in the middle of such grandiose decisions, but maybe you are, or maybe you will be soon. So, what makes the process easier? How can you have peace about the decisions you make? 

 3 Things that can Give you Courage for Every Decision

1} Have a Vision for you Decision

First, have a vision for what your desired outcome is. My vision, no matter what we decide, is to see my son thriving, being challenged, and prepared to embark into adulthood with purpose and responsibility and fun. Whichever way I move, I can come back to this vision or goal and counteract the decision based on the vision.

Another way to have a vision is to think about how this decision is going to affect everyone involved. Business writer Suzy Welch called this the 10-10-10 decision making rule. Basically, Welch states you want to think about what a yes or no decision will look like in 10 minutes, in 10 months and in 10 years. A pretty cool exercise, I think. I would go further than that though, and encourage you to visualize yourself or your family after having made the decision one year from now.

What will life look like if it’s a no? What about if it’s yes? Write down the vision. What do you hope the decision will bring? How will it be affecting your life a year from now, or 10 years from now? What do you see as the difficulties, but, are those difficulties purposed and simply hurdles to overcome or will they affect life negatively? Once you see all that in your mind’s eye see if it aligns with what you desire or hope.

2} Take a Risk and Trust it.

Truth:: You have everything you need to make good decisions. Mamas, you have done a great job parenting your kiddos. You’re not perfect, but you’re in it. You know your kids, you know their strengths and weaknesses, and you know their potential and gifts. And mostly, you love them well and are FOR them. And if this decision isn’t for your kids but you, take kids out and add your name in that statement above! Every decision has a risk factor to it, but trust that you are able to make good ones. Take courage to take a risk.

3} Listen to those Whispers in your Head and Heart

For two weeks I decided to write down any time I had a thought or felt a prick in my heart about the decision we needed to make. I knew that this decision was a big one for us; one that would alter how we have lived life for the past 11 years, not to mention the new, good and different experiences it would offer. Call it intuition, discernment, call it listening to your heart, whatever it is, I knew I needed to crawl into the crevices of my heart and mind and really come to terms with my decision. 

So when my kids were being ugly to each other, I thought, “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and maybe time away for my son will help him appreciate the time he has with his sisters. I wrote that down.

Later that week a friend said about his son, “I want him to know he can do hard things.” That struck me and I wrote that down. In the end I had quotes and random thoughts that verified parts of my vision and helped me understand and see my decision in a better light.

So, what if you mess up and make the wrong decision?

You might. Try to remember that you really can’t make a wrong decision, because the wrong ones just teach you how to make better ones next time and there are always lessons to learn. No matter what we decide, we will have to take courage in the new and unknown realm of decided. But every decision will also come with hope for the vision we have in front of us.

Make a decision. Have courage. Know that no matter the outcome, you have everything you need to love your children well, and that in itself is a hope filled blessing.

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Andrea Portilla
Andrea is a true Houston native! Other than her college years at Baylor and a few summers with family in Guatemala, she has lived around the Houston area forever and cannot imagine living anywhere else. Especially because of family nearby as built in babysitters, so many friendships built throughout the years, and the great people of this city, Houston is so dear to her heart. In junior high her family moved to the Sugar Land area, but she attended a high school in town and spent as much time as possible at the Galleria in the 90s! After graduating from Baylor University with a degree in Secondary Education, she married her high school sweetheart, Orlando, and they moved to the Richmond area where they have been ever since and where she homeschools their son and 2 daughters, ages 15, 12 & 9. Andrea is very active in Women’s ministry at her church and in her community. She began writing for more therapeutic reasons when the kids were small and soon began writing publicly, remembering her love for writing and realizing the gift and calling that it was in her life. She published her first book, Breathless: Prayers from a Mother Learning to Exhale in 2018, a devotional last year and is currently working on a few new projects. In her down time, Andrea loves alone time, especially because she’s an enneagram 4! She also loves coffee, hanging out with her family and friends, traveling, New York City, musicals, especially Hamilton, fair trade jewelry, and charcuterie boards! You can find her writing at or follow her on Instagram @dreaportilla and on Facebook.


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