No More Wavy Lays (October 24, 2012)

…Opening To…

Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being free. (Paul Tillich, Theologian)

…Listening In…

Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; context)

…Filling Up…

The little decisions flit through our lives so quickly and so often that we barely register them. Each one lasts a moment, and since they are small, there’s a better than average chance that they are taking very little of our attention and focus. Now, I must admit that when I said yesterday that I thought we should pray every time we make a small decision, I was being slightly misleading.

While I do think we should pray, I have a feeling that my understanding of prayer in this particular situation might be different than the one in your minds. At its broadest, prayer is our response to God. It’s that simple. Whenever we do or say something because of God’s presence in our lives, we are praying. This includes the normal conception of prayer – the prayers before going to bed type of praying – but it also includes so much more. It includes the urge to help someone in trouble, for example. The urge is of God. Helping is prayer.

This expansive understanding of prayer allows us to see our entire lives happening in the midst the presence of God. We are swimming and the water is God. Such an outlook is, I think, the absolute best way to live a life, and it also helps us make the best decisions possible – both small and big.

We can cultivate a way of life that sees everything we do as a response to God’s presence (and therefore as a prayer). Since everything includes everything, it includes the hundreds of small decisions we make each day. By practicing our response to God’s presence, we can become more attuned to God’s yearning for us, which, in turn, helps us make the right decisions. Of course, we won’t get them right every time, but the act of staying in tune with God will help us choose the right paths more often than not.

The more decisions we make that end up being life-affirming and full of joy and abundance, the more apt we will be to make them again. I used to love potato chips. I mean, I could eat a whole bag of wavy Lays in one sitting. But a few years ago, they started to make me very sick. Even a single chip makes me violently ill. So I stopped eating them. Now when I see a bowl of chips at a lunch meeting or party, I have to decide every time not to have one. But you know what? Over time, that decision has gotten easier and easier. Now, I hardly ever miss them.

…Praying For…

Dear God, thank you for giving me the strength of will to make good decisions. Help me when I fail to come back to your life-giving way. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, rejoicing that you are with me in all the decisions I make.

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