Today we learn from the great master of decision making, Ignatius of Loyola. He talks about 3 different situations that we experience when we are making a decision. Decisions are made in these three instances. When we have the luxury of time, then we wait for things to settle down and make the decision with a calm spirit. We have to be careful not to be reactive– this is when our feelings are unsettled.

Think about yourself right now. Are you about to make an important decision in your life? How are your feelings and emotions? Where do you find yourself in these three instances?

3 Circumstances for Making a Decision

Ignatius thought that decisions were made in three circumstances.

When there is no doubt. Sometimes the right decision is unmistakably clear. We know what the right choice is. This knowledge is a gift from God. All we need do is act on what we know to be the right direction. Often this takes some time. We put off acting on what we know we should do.

When feelings are unsettled. Sometimes our emotions are in turmoil when we ponder various alternatives. We experience many strong feelings as we face the prospect of choosing—fearfulness, confidence, confusion, hope, sadness. Decision-making in these situations means observing and interpreting these feelings. We discern their spiritual meaning and discover how they point to the right choice.

When emotions are calm. Sometimes we approach a decision in a tranquil and settled frame of mind. This is probably the most common decision-making circumstance. Here, the Ignatian approach has us prayerfully weigh the pros and cons of each alternative and conduct some exercises that help us clarify the options.

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