“And let the peace (soul harmony), which comes from Christ, rule and continually act as an umpire in your hearts, deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds. Let the peace that Christ gives guide you in the decisions you make – let peace be your heart’s decision-maker…” (Colossians 3:15)
I don’t like cooking. I’m not good at cooking, I don’t enjoy the process of cooking, I don’t own cook books and I rarely watch cooking shows on TV. Cooking is something that has to be done so that we can eat. Every now and then though, I like to bake. Sometimes I use a packet mix and other times (shock horror) I bake from scratch. (Yes, it surprises me too!) However, because I’m not a cook and don’t like cooking, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve started the baking process only to discover I don’t have all the ingredients in the fridge or pantry. Usually it’s eggs. Or SR flour. Sometimes it’s butter. Often it’s chocolate chips that I’m missing. This hasn’t happened to me just once or twice over the years but dozens of times as I have started the cooking or baking process only to discover I’m missing an important and vital ingredient. You’d think I would have learned by now that if I want to make a cake or muffins or cookies that I need to have all the ingredients lined up ready to go otherwise it means I have to stop half way and make a trip to the supermarket (or the neighbours). Sometimes, honestly, when I realise I’m missing an ingredient, the whole cooking thing becomes too difficult, I get an “I can’t be bothered” attitude and I end up abandoning what I’ve started to make.
As I was baking today (and I kid you not, I had to go to the supermarket half-way through to buy cooking oil – truth!) I got thinking about how my cooking is a bit like my life. Every day I face decisions. Most of them are small but some days there are big (important) decisions to make that will have an impact on my future. The little decisions can usually be made without much thought but the bigger decisions require a lot of thought, talking over with Tim and of course, (because I’m a Christian and it’s the “right” thing to do) prayer. Sometimes I make a decision to do something big and I launch into it with my usual passion, purpose and intention only to quickly realise I’m missing a vital ingredient. Before making the decision, I forgot to get all the ingredients out and lined up ready to go. So of course this means I have to stop and make a trip to Instagram for inspiration or to Facebook for a discussion about what decision I should make. I might even pop in and visit my friends for a chat about the decision. Or, sometimes, when it just gets too difficult, I abandon it all.
I was chatting to someone online the other day about some decisions I am in the process of making and she commented that she doesn’t make decisions until her three little ducks all line up. I was curious about what she meant by this and she explained that, for her, her “ducks” are peace, scripture and affirmation. In other words, when she has God’s peace, God’s word and God’s confirmation, her ducks are lined up and she can make her decision.
Since then I haven’t stopped thinking about this and wondering what my “ducks” are. What things do I like to see ‘lined up’ before I make a decision. The more I thought about this, the more I realised that lately my big decisions are not made after spending time in prayer and asking for God’s help. It wasn’t always that way. I used to rely on God’s peace before I made any major decision. Somewhere along the journey though I have left God out of the decision-making process. Not only do I forgot to pray and ask for His guidance now, I also forget to stop and listen to His voice of wisdom and reason after I’ve prayed. I’ve forgotten that one of my most important “ducks” is the peace of God which comes when I pray and He answers. And because I’ve forgotten this important ingredient I get stuck half-way through the decision making process and because it’s just all too hard, I abandon the whole process. And stay stuck right where I am. Or even worse, make the wrong decision.
As I have reflected on why I have left God out of my decision making process and why I have neglected this important “duck” I realise one of the reasons I am reluctant to pray and ask God for wisdom is that deep down there’s that voice that reminds me that last time God didn’t answer my prayers, so why would He answer them now? I guess that’s where I have to trust Him again. This journey back to God has been one big decision making process. I have chosen and made a resolution to trust Him again. And as I have trusted Him again His peace has guided me and comforted me and acts as an umpire in my heart, settling with finality all the doubts and questions I bring to Him.