Sometimes, I make really terrible decisions. There was that time that I bought meat from a guy in a truck driving down my street. There was my stint through selling Mary Kay for about a minute and a half. And there was that time that I thought that I could function well on an average of 4 hours of sleep per night. Oh! And there was that time when, despite Stan being allergic to every living thing except humans, I had to have 2 Great Danes, a beagle, a bunny, a ferret, two turtles, a fish, and a snake. Yeah, when it comes to making bad decisions, I’ve made some doozies and for some odd reason, I frequently have to make those bad decisions repeatedly before I learn from them. So, being the nerd that I am, I began to think about the triggers for my perseverance toward stupidity in hopes that I can avoid the process some in the future.
Exhaustion: I make my worst decisions when I am tired and worn out. I have usually been “self-disciplined” all day long and am just done. That is when I tend to lose control of my words, my eating habits, my physical activity, my motivation, my parenting…it’s when bad stuff happens with me. I am a high-intensity person; I am always going and doing and fixing…I rarely slow down. But I need rest. Acting like I can “do it all” all the time is not only untrue, it is arrogant and it is anti-scriptural. God modeled rest. Jesus modeled quiet. Why do I think I would require anything different?
Isolation: I frequently make terrible decisions when I isolate myself. We are called to be in community for a reason. When I am completely alone, all I have to work with are my own thoughts. When I get off track in my thinking, there is no one to “bump up against” in order to get back on the correct path…this leads to scary and dangerous places. When I am mentally present enough to want to make good decisions, I tend to seek out loving and encouraging community so that I can know if I have large, gaping holes in my thoughts and theories. (But if I am exhausted, I am not usually mentally present enough to get the mail on my own.) And anyway, I respect my friends deeply; why wouldn’t I want to put their awesome brains on my tasks as well?
Lies and Ego-centricity: I make horrible decisions when I buy into lies. These lies can range from “I’m not a valuable person” and “Nobody cares for me” to “I am the smartest person in the room” and “My opinion matters more than the opinions of others.” For me, it’s a full pendulum-swing: everything from self-deprecation all the way to almost a false self-worship. The consistent thing is that these are ALL lies and ALL self-focused. I need to seek truth and it usually means getting out of myself and focusing on God and those that he loves. (Which, incidentally, leads me right back to community…not just going and consuming but also pouring into it.)
Those are my triggers. If you add hunger to the mix, it could be a deadly combination of triggers of circumstances…There is honestly no telling what crazy and dumb things I would do. What are your triggers? What do you have to watch out for? Do you ever do anything dumb or is it just me?