Why “Keeping Your Options Open” is a Bad Idea

Maybe you can relate. You’re stuck and you have no idea as to what you’re doing or where you’re going. You pray and ask God to give you clear direction. And after some time, you begin sensing that God is speaking. You feel like you’ve heard from Him and are understanding where it is that He’s leading. But, after a few weeks or months, when things are not moving as fast as you thought they would, you start doubting; you start worrying. And deep down inside, you start questioning whether or not you really did hear from God. So, you decide to “keep your options open.” You start looking at other things you can do, places you can go, etc. And before you know it, you’re stuck in the same exact place. You never moved forward and really, you just spent the last year of your life moving backwards. Sigh.

This has been me during different seasons of my life. If I’m honest with you, there were times where I felt like I had to have that “cushion,” that security blanket just in case something didn’t work out. But really all it did was create more chaos, more worry in my life. 

I recently came across James 1:5-8 and when I read the last 5 words, I immediately knew God was speaking to me; God was trying to get me to realize something:

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” ~ James 1:5-8

It was then that I realized why keeping your options open is a bad idea:

  • You’ll get stuck in the “Grass is Greener on the other side” mentality: The more you keep your options open, the more you’re left wondering if there isn’t something better out there, something that will make you happier. And as long as you’re thinking that, you will never reach your full potential with where God has you right now. 
  • You’ll settle for mediocrity instead of excellence: If you’re always looking for the next best thing, you won’t be able to concentrate on where you are right now. And if you can’t concentrate on where you are right now, you won’t take care of the tasks that are in front of you with excellence. Instead, you’ll do just enough until the next best thing pops up. 
  • You’ll lose your focus: Focus is a good thing. Focus helps us achieve our goals. Focus helps us move forward. But if we’re consumed with keeping our options open, we tend to lose our focus. Instead, we keep focusing on what’s next and we miss out on the here and now. 
  • You’ll worry instead of having joy with what today offers you: If you’re always looking for the next best thing, worry will be at the center of your life. You’ll worry about making the right decisions, what’s around the corner, if you’re ruining your life, if you’ve missed out on your purpose, etc. And as we know, worry tends to paralyze us. 
  • You’ll trust what you see instead of what God has told you: When we choose to keep our options open instead of stepping fully into what God has called us to, we are ultimately saying that we don’t really trust God. YIKES! Believe me when I say, I’ve been there. If we feel like we need that cushion then we are living by sight and not faith.

So, where does this leave us? I think we have to come to a point where we are not afraid to commit; to fully trust God with what He has shown us and shared with us. He’s promised that if we will ask Him for help, He will give it to us. And if we will ask boldly and truly believe that He will not only answer, but will also guide us, then we have nothing to worry about. We can trust in His leading; He will not let us down. Don’t be afraid to trust God and the specific calling that He has already given you. If you’ve asked and He’s answered, move forward with His answer and let Him show you just how faithful He is.

Is fear or worry causing you to “keep your options open?” Feel free to share below.

Still not sure?  Maybe you find yourself asking: Am I  doing what I was created to do? Am I missing out on something that God has for me?  Be encouraged, God Will Find You. 

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