Do you ever struggle with making decisions? Do you tend to be indecisive in making a choice? If you are leading people in any way (whether in your family, circle of friends, church, business, etc.), you are going to at some point suffer from “analysis paralysis.” This happens when we over-analyze, and become paralyzed by details and choices to the point where you either avoid making a decision or put it off, way too long! The wilderness is a prime training ground for making you and I a good decision maker.

Ecuador – Cotopaxi National Park -photo by Joel Vermillion


Jesus chose his disciples and he called them to choose and follow him. He called them to willingly abandon themselves and their agenda and cling to him.  He helped them see the high value of relationship with him, and the dangers of delaying that decision.

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. -Mark 3:13

In the wilderness because of the forces of nature, weather, wildlife, climate conditions, and topography, the problem of analysis paralysis is magnified a thousand fold. When you are in a situation where there are recognizable risks and obvious consequences, the need to be a decision maker is clear and present. Hopefully we have the skills to make good decisions, but even if we don’t, we have to use common sense and decide. Experiencing decision-making scenarios in the wilderness is a great tutor for real life and real leadership.

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decision maker

Cotopaxi in the distance – photo by Joel Vermillion


Every adventure hinges on a series of choices you make along the way. The circumstances and climate are not always patient. You have to be a decision maker. You have to do it now. You are forced to evaluate what is the safest, best option and then do it without delay. In true adventure,  you are going to have to make choices about the way to go. You can’t always ride the fence.

Sometimes I think we don’t view our decision-paralysis as a serious thing, so we just put it off. But in reality, our passivity or unwillingness to choose a course of action does have consequences–we just might not be aware of them.

“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)


Whether you are leading others in the wilderness or you are guiding others back at home in the valley, here are just a few suggestions that I’ve learned from wilderness adventures that help me break out of analysis paralysis and be the decision maker others are relying on. All of them rest in the truth that when you cling to Christ, he will make you competent to make wise decisions that glorify him and bless others:

  • Ask yourself, “What’s the worse thing that could happen?”
  • Name the consequences of this decision. Then ask yourself, “Can I and the group live with that?”
  • Imagine the consequences of indecision. Ask, “Who is going to suffer unnecessarily for my passivity?”
  • Rest in God’s ability to help you make a wise decision.
  • If you are in a position of leadership, remember that God has sovereignly put you there. You are responsible to make decisions, so make them.



  • Identify some choice or decision that you are delaying or avoiding right now. Run through the list of questions above to bust out of analysis paralysis.
  • Next time you are outdoors… intentionally push yourself to do something that is out of your comfort zone and intentionally keep track of how you made decisions along the way. Then take those lessons into your normal life when you drift into analysis paralysis.


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