Sometimes a Crock-Pot is Just a Crock-Pot (and other wisdom for the indecisive)

philippians3

An indecisive person (AKA me) plus a store aisle full of choices = paralysis, disaster, and maybe a meltdown in the middle of the Wal-Mart.

It all started when I poured spaghetti sauce ingredients into my beloved Crock-Pot.  I felt like a domestic diva, a household management expert.

After racing from school to activities and then home, I’d be greeted by the aroma of simmering sauce instead of shoving a hamburger and French fries in my face after a drive-thru dinner run.

Win!

Only when I arrived home, there was no lingering scent of basil, oregano and tomato sauce in the air.

My Crock-Pot was still cold.

Knowing my propensity for human error, I ran through the possible list of user failures.  Had I plugged it in?  Check.  Had I turned the dial from OFF to LOW?  Check.

It had simply died.  (Cue funeral dirge).

That means my shopping list now included the item:  new Crock-Pot.

Was this a reason to celebrate?  Or was it no big deal?

Neither, my friends.

This became a capital-D Decision.  I prayed about it.  I read about it.  I scouted prices online.

Then I stood in that aisle with Jeopardy music ringing in my head, clocking the ridiculous amount of time I stared blankly at slow cookers.  Who knew there were so many choices to be made?

Oval or round?

Which brand?

6 quart or 7 quart?

How many programming options did I want?

Was I willing to pay $80 for a slow cooker that would not only prepare delicious meals for me but clearly should also vacuum and do the dishes? (I mean, for $80 it needs to do something incredible.)

I waffled.

I waivered.

I see-sawed.

It was agonizing.  Finally, my Wise Inner Voice held an intervention of sorts and talked my troubled, indecisive soul down off the ledge.

You need a Crock-Pot.  This is not choosing a career, a college or who to marry.  For crying aloud, you are simply choosing a relatively inexpensive cooking tool for your home. Just pick something.

So, I did.  I wanted a Crock Pot with clamps on the lid so I could carry it to church potlucks without spilling soup all over the inside of my minivan.

Programmable would be helpful when I’m out all day and I need the slow cooker to start at noon.

Awesome.  I had officially made a decision.

Until I got home.  And, that Crock Pot sat in its box.   A week later it is still sitting taped up in the original packaging on my kitchen floor.

Because….what if I change my mind?

What if I find a better deal?

What if I made a bad choice?

I am paralyzed by indecision.  It is a daily occurrence in my crazy life for me to be trapped by what if’s, possibilities and the pursuit of what is right, wise, and perfect.

Do I want red or blue?  Small or medium?  The park or the zoo?  Soup or a sandwich?  To watch a movie or read a book?

Yes. No.  Maybe?

I.  Do.  Not.  Know.

And when I do decide, I evaluate and criticize that decision, living in a perpetual state of regret and self-condemnation.

I knew I shouldn’t have bought that Crock-Pot.  What a stupid decision.  What’s wrong with me?

So, this is the prison of indecision I inhabit, just four walls holding in my kind of crazy.  I’m a cowering shadow, afraid of one false move or one bad decision that will disappoint God’s heart.

God says I can ask Him anything.  So, I do.  I pray for wisdom and guidance for every possible decision, including Crock-Pots.

No lightning strikes, though.  No neon arrow points to the right choice.

But here’s what I need to learn.

Sometimes it’s okay to just choose a Crock-Pot.  The world isn’t going to explode if I go with the oval one or the other brand.

Not every decision is a life or death matter of discerning God’s will.

Sometimes a Crock-Pot is just a Crock-Pot.

Sure, I’ll sometimes make the perfect decision.

And, at times I’ll just need to break off the chains of regret.  So, things didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped.  It’s in the past now.  Time to let it go and make a new choice on a new day.

As Paul writes:

 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14 HCSB).

After all, God still loves me. He gives fresh mercy with each new day.  His grace covers my every flaw, foible, and failure (regardless of my choice of Crock-Pot).

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Cue the Jeopardy Music

She announced that her stomach hurt and she was too sick to go to school about ten minutes before the bus pulled up in front of my house.

“Announced” perhaps isn’t the right word.  It was more like “groaned” or “moaned” or “whispered in agony.”  Something like that.  And there were tears and clutching the hands to the stomach and doubling over in pain.  That kind of thing.

I’ve always been paralyzed by decisions under pressure.  I’d be an utter failure on Jeopardy (besides not knowing anything about pop culture or sports) because whatever I do know flies out of my head stopwatchthe moment someone clicks on a timer.

In college, I studied all week before the test, but tucked my books and notes away the night before the exam.  The stress of cramming made my brain shut down.

And procrastinating makes me hyperventilate.

When you have a problem like mine, the utter inability to think under pressure, sometimes you say silly things just because you need to say something.  Sports are dangerous for me, too, because I can’t be trusted to react well when a hard object comes hurling at my face.

So, if my daughter had decided she was sick an hour before the bus arrival, I might have been wise and calm, but with ten minutes to go, I was a frantic mess of paralyzed mom-ness.

I grabbed the thermometer to gather objective evidence.  When I announced that no fever meant going to school, though, she collapsed onto the sofa underneath her blanket with a bowl held up under her nose.

What if I let her stay home and she wasn’t really sick and she used up an absence for no reason at all and then she thought it was okay to skip school any day her stomach felt a little bit ache-y?

She was going to school.

But what if I sent her to school and she really was feeling bad so she threw up in the middle of the classroom and someone had to clean it all up and she infected other students and it was all super embarrassing?

She was not going to school.

Finally, I made my decision:  I would keep her home for two hours and if she wasn’t really sick, she’d go to school.

Suddenly I felt so much better because I had two hours to consider the matter, weigh the evidence, and make another choice.  And at just after 11:00, I walked her into the school building with her backpack on and sent her off to her class.

Maybe it’s the fear of making a wrong decision that troubles me so.  Or perhaps it’s that I like to weigh the evidence, all the evidence and how do you know when you have all the facts?

It may be paralyzing at times, but perhaps there’s at least one good thing about this need to pause and think after all.

I wonder, as I read the book of Joshua, what would have happened if the nation of Israel had stopped for a single moment to consider the choice set before them, instead of rushing in all bold and blustery to a decision while ultimately remaining deep-down uncommitted.

Joshua said:

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).

Absolutely we want to serve the Lord!  We know what He’s done for us and we’re going to serve Him!

They didn’t consider, though, that the commitments we make in life aren’t just one time choices.  They are the guides we use for the daily choices and the moment-by-moment decisions that require self-denial and self-discipline.

The choice to spend time with God despite busyness and distractions–that’s daily.

The choice to deny self and serve—that’s every day any time of the day.

The choice to submit to God and the leading of the Holy Spirit—that’s every second.

In the end, for all their shouting about how they would serve the Lord, the Israelites chose day after day to disobey Him and to pursue their own agendas, to worship false gods and break all the commandments He had given for their protection and purity.

Today, let us pause, taking the time for just this moment, first to listen.

What, God, are you asking of me?

And then before we rush into commitments and assurances, we consider the cost, we determine in our hearts, and then—only then—we make the choice.

But it doesn’t stop there.  The day after that and the next day and the next, we choose Him, choose to follow, choose to obey.  Sometimes we mess up, but we thank Him for fresh mercies and try again with choice after choice, showing that yes, we will serve the Lord.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King