Day 24: The Thinking cap – How to make wise decisions amidst every-day mayhem

Ruthie The Thinking Cap 12 Comments

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day 24 thinking capScientists claim that we process between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts in one day, making roughly 35,000 decisions.

Moms perform multiple problem solving skills on a daily basis.

What types of problem solving skills are you wrestling with today? Are you snowed under with decision-making processes?


Mine used to look like this:

marital “discussions” (ahem)

toddler rearing

teenage drama




spiritual life



Today, they look like this:

marital conversations (of the wiser generation)

young-adult life decisions

empty nesting

finances aka COLLEGE TUITION – ack!!

elderly health care

grand parenting

spiritual life



Both of these lists have one exact thing in common:  spiritual life.  Still seeking growth,  time in the Word, and prayer.

(You will always have to fight for time for this priority.)

Family remains in the forefront, yet in different capacities because of our children’s ages and the growth of our marriage (thank God).

I am now a member of the “sandwich generation” – my responsibilities not only include overseeing my grown kids, but also my parents and grandson (Tiny Tornado).

We still discuss finances, only now the college fees make us wonder what we were thinking – producing four children.

Instead of homeschooling or working, I blog.


How can you make up your mind about both small and large life decisions in a wise and timely fashion?


 Maintain an attitude of prayer


“Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God, insight into life from knowing a Holy God.

It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life depends, and the years of your life ripen.

Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;  mock life and life will mock you.” ~Proverbs 9:10-12


Daily time in the Word and prayer remain essential.


True wisdom comes from spending time with the ultimate Source. Click To Tweet


“Daily I live with (one) fear – a healthy fear, if there is such a thing.  (It is) that I will miss something God has for me in this life.  By allowing the routine, pressing matters of my minutes to bankrupt me of time for the most exciting, most fulfilling relationship in life.”  ~Carole Mayhall, as quoted by Elizabeth George in A Woman after God’s Own Heart


I’ve shared a simple method I use to implement prayer in daily life, but keeping an attitude of prayer is also an incredibly powerful tool.


“In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths” ~Proverbs 3:6


Keep your Bible open and on the kitchen counter, or post Scripture on 3×5 cards in your kitchen windows and bathroom mirrors.

If you need to make a quick decision, pray right then.  There’s no rule saying you can’t pray with your eyes open – even an “SOS, LORD!”  Is ok!

True wisdom comes from God.


List 5 things

day 24 perfection quoteRegrouping from the loss of two kids moving to college, I found myself unable to set a new, efficient routine.

Empty nesting hits hard, ya’ll.

I discussed it with Jim one day as we barreled down the high way in the two-ton torpedo (driving camper – since that what we do now).

“How do you get so much done in a day?”

(I couldn’t believe I was asking this question, after all – I raised four children, kept them alive, and cooked dinner every night.)

“Every morning, I make a list of 5 things to accomplish for the day, and work until it’s done.  If the day ends and I don’t finish, I’ll do it tomorrow.”


Let me explain something to you about my husband:  he is very successful at what he does.  He tells people what to do, and they listen, because he is usually right.

(I try not to say that too often, because it comes back to haunt me later.)


I began implementing his method.

And it worked.

I became more productive and satisfied because progress was attained.


At the beginning of the day, make a list of five things to accomplish. Click To Tweet


For the perfectionist (such as myself), it’s difficult to see those unfinished tasks staring back at you.

But take joy and satisfaction for what you did.

And let it go.

If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.


“On an important decision one rarely has 100% of the information needed for a good decision no matter how much one spends or how long one waits. And, if one waits too long, he has a different problem and has to start all over. This is the terrible dilemma of the hesitant decision maker.” Robert K. Greenleaf


Step away from the problem

Most days I’m fighting an uphill battle trying to write a blog post, and yet solve technical difficulties at the same time.

I hammer away, researching furiously, spinning my tires deeper in the mire.

Until I give it a break.

Do you know when I solve most of my technical issues?

In my sleep.

It comes to me during the night.

They say our dreams are the mind’s way of solving problems.

Other than the usual cliff falling and playing the piano in the nude for weddings…

I’m a living testament.

Give it a try.  Walk away from your problem for an hour or two, or sleep on it.

Many times, you think more clearly after a good rest.


Bounce ideas off your mate

Your husband is a gift (whether you realize it or not).

He possesses a different perspective, set of skills, and personality.

My husband is my polar opposite.  We rarely ever view a problem the same way.

Just like Jim’s advice regarding tasks, your mate will probably put a different spin on things.

Most of the decisions you’re making affect him or the kids anyway.

Last week, Jim came to me, seeking wisdom on a relational matter.

I immediately had an answer, being removed from the situation.

He took my advice and the situation resolved itself.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.


“It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.” Jim Rohn


Decide according to your life map

day 24 thinking girlI once heard Elizabeth George speak on priorities and decision-making.

She suggested screening what you let into your life, going as far as narrowing it down to the material you read.

What are your goals?

Do you desire a women’s ministry?  Ditch the Vogue magazines.

If you’re interested in home design, don’t be looking at cat memes on Pinterest.

Use your goals in life to make wise decisions (see day 11:  “The Pilgrim Hat” – how to create a family map.

Life is too short to waste time scrolling mindlessly through other people’s breakfast choices.

Little eyes are watching.

Teenage minds are processing.

Young adults are critically filtering your judgment.  Because now, they see the value.


You are a decision maker, mom.

Whether the question is, “Can I have a cookie?”  or, “Can I go out on a date?”, you’re a participant in mental gymnastics.

Seek the Ultimate Wise One.  Make a list. Step away from the problem, talk with your husband, and discern your priorities.  Maintain a spirit of prayer for wisdom in quick decisions.

Read A Woman after God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George and soak in her timeless wisdom – it was a life changer for me as a young mom.

I’ll never forget her mantra, cited in the book:

“Good, better, best – never let it rest.  ‘Till your good is better, and your better is best.”


Seek God’s best with your thinking cap!


Day 25: The Safari Hat!


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Comments 12

  1. This post is filled with tons of practical wisdom! Lists are my friends. 🙂 Praying a lot about some teenage issues … (major heart tug, here) … echoing how important input from our husbands is … couldn’t do this mom thing (decisions and all) without him!

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      Dianne, I will be praying with you about your teenage heart-tugger. Life is hard, but I’m so thankful for the wisdom God gives through both His Word and our husbands! YES – that is when I needed Jim the most, his sound wisdom (and strong leadership) during the tumultuous teen years. Not for the faint of heart!!!
      Thanks for stopping by, friend!

  2. So perfect for me in this season of my life with two itty bitty children. I loved this: “Keep your Bible open and on the kitchen counter, or post Scripture on 3×5 cards in your kitchen windows and bathroom mirrors.” I’m constantly wondering how I’m supposed to spend time with the Lord when my children sense my feet hitting the floor in the morning and I’m just too tired at nap times or night time to force my brain and heart to connect. Thank you for all of these practical tips. I look forward to revisiting all 31 days come November! (since nap times nowadays are all dedicated to blogging!)

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      Leslie, I know what you mean. I used to feel so guilty during that time of life because there never seemed to be a good time for devotions. I’ve written a couple of things about this very subject such as this one:
      Give yourself grace and snatch small moments when you can – just don’t do what I did many a time and give up because I couldn’t do it perfectly!
      We’re in the home stretch, Leslie, hang in there! 🙂

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  3. This is helpful. It seems like I am able to see other people’s problems and solutions so clearly, but when it comes to me own, I spend a lot of time in prayer, analyzing, rehashing everything. It would be much better for me to step away from it and maybe I can get a different perspective and see the answer more clearly. Good stuff!

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      Absolutely, Robyn. I’m an analytical re-hasher from wayyyyyy back! One of the best things I did for my stuck decision making mode was read John Ortberg’s “All the places to go” last year. He speaks of doors and opportunities and living close to the Lord and when we don’t know what to do, instead of sitting around analyzing, we make a decision and go with it. If we’re walking close to Him, we won’t make an immoral decision. It’ll probably be a sound decision or a pretty good one, but at least we’re moving and not stuck in one spot. God will help us along no matter what we do. Thanks for your comment!

  4. I find it interesting reading your posts Ruthie – we are in the similar season even though I still have my kids in the house. My lifestyle has changed and I’m often left floundering. Today reading your post I’m thinking that it’s because I’m relying on habits, based on routines, that don’t exist any more! I need to start making new decisions, establishing new habits, new routines, for a new purpose! Lots to think about.

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      I know exactly what you mean, Belinda! It’s hard to regroup. It takes us a while to realize we’re in transition and shift gears. I read a book last year that really helped me called, “Restless, because you were made for more” by Jennie Allen, which helped me get on track and focused about goals and new habits! Maybe it would help you too. I’ll be praying for you as you move forward. 🙂

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