There is an immutable law of nature that I’ve observed and come to trust through hard experience.

If you move one thing
you have to move them all.

When it’s time to set up the Christmas tree, or take it down, or do the spring cleaning, or redecorate, or when you buy something new and have to make room for it, this truth becomes clear.

You’re going to end up moving the couch. You just are.

Yesterday I had some big decisions to make, the kind that ripple, the kind that will affect something else, then something else, until nearly everything is changed. The kind of decision where you can’t possibly imagine all of the consequences that follow.

It’s like tripping with a bowl full of marbles or breaking a rack of balls on a pool table. You have some idea about what will happen but you can’t really say. There are just too many possibilities to consider.

Sooner or later you know you’re just going to have to pull back the cue and hit the ball. Then the game has begun.

No Hiding

Once you’re in, you’re in. You’re playing the game for all to see, win or lose, genius or idiot, fortunes turn, kingdoms rise or fall, battles won or lost.

That’s the way life is. You have to make a decision based on your best information with your highest motives and your strongest faith. Then the chips will fall where they may. Should we marry? Should we move to Kalamazoo? Should I try for this job? Should we get a dog? Is it time to have children? Should I wear this to the interview? Where should I take her on our first date? It could be paralyzing.

And then there’s the couch.

Consequences Are Unavoidable

Even doing nothing has consequences. If you make no decisions then others make them for you. You lose all hope of control. The only way to determine what your life will be is to make a decision with too little information and not enough time.

And it will go on your permanent record. Everyone will see. Not everyone will understand. There will be criticism.

So, How Do You Decide?

How do you make an impossible, life-changing decision? You could, and should, pray. You should consult your friends. You should ask respected influencers. You should read and educate yourself.

In other words, you should put it off as long as possible.

I’m not saying this is the best method but it is one that I commonly use. It makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing. It makes me feel in control because I know that once I make the decision control will be gone. I will have moved the one thing.

In the end I probably knew the right thing to do all along. If I’ve lived my life well and learned my lessons and taken my lumps, then I have a better idea than I’m willing to admit what the right course of action is. I just don’t want to take it.

The Test

So, what is my test, my final question, my tie-breaker, my mind-maker, the method of sifting the wheat from the chaff, sorting the fluff from the stuff, telling the truth from the trash? The question I ask myself is this:

Is it worth moving the couch?

Before I move that first thing, I need to know. If I’m not doing something worth moving the couch for then it probably isn’t worth changing my life, or wasting a day, or a moment.

But if I’m willing to commit some major effort and time to it, if I’m willing to take the risk and put myself on the line then, win or lose, succeed or fail, it was worth the effort.

There are no guarantees. I might fall on my face publicly and end up with a bloody nose. There’s no hiding that.

A life lived with safety as the first and final consideration is not much of a life. The question of life is not will I survive? I won’t.

The question is will I do anything worthwhile with my life while I’m here? Will I be brave? Will I strive to reach my potential? Will I live life or simply let my heart beat for no purpose?

So, when you are trying to make a decision that is hard and unknowable, look to God, look to you heart, look to your friends.

But in the end, look to your couch.

Photos by: By thedailyenglishshow and by Lel4nd via Flickr