Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Inevitability of Dominoes

One falls and they all fall, that's how it works isn't it? It does if you've set it up right.

There are few things more anti-climatic than a poorly arranged domino chain. It just gets going, just starts to gain momentum and then... it's over.

'Decisions are like dominos' someone once told me, it's stuck with me. He was right. Every decision we make whether big or small has consequences to it. We can't always see all the implications of every decision we make but we know there'll be some. Take my decision to ask a friend to shave my hair off a week before my wedding... small decision, a lot of grief and a lot of dominoes. Now every time we look at our wedding photos, I'm reminded of that decision. Little did I know as I did it that I'd forever be plagued by the memory of it, rarely does the 'issue' not come up when talking with friends about our wedding day. Rash decision, many dominoes.

Right now I'm in the process of watching some dominoes fall over that I hadn't anticipated going down; at least not yet, not for a while.

13 years ago after some soul searching and general investigation I knocked over a domino, I made a decision to submit my life to Jesus and acknowledge him to be the world's true ruler and rescuer. At the time I knew it was a domino decision I knew that my life wasn't going to stay as it was, it couldn't. If Jesus is in charge, then we're not and that has not a few implications on our lives. What I didn't know at the time is where it would lead or just how many dominoes would go down. Like agreeing to board a train I knew that by making a decision to follow Jesus I was leaving the station and things were going to change, the landscape of my life was about to change.

In the past 13 years many dominos have fallen in surrender to the authority of Jesus. There were heavy dominoes that fell early on like my decision to trust him with my sex life, my finances, my passions and my dreams. There have been soul searchings and long months of questioning, long wrestlings of his will with mine. There has also been more joy, delight and answers to prayer than I thought they'd be. So much of what the would call good fortune or what the Bible calls goodness and mercy seems to follow me now. It is a domino I'm certainly glad I knocked over, a decision (and many subsequent decisions) that I haven't regretted.

My current situation is that within a few weeks we'll be uprooting and moving house to lead a new church (proof that God has a sense of humour!) in a town a few miles down the road from where we currently live. Our life plan has taken an unexpected turn. This is a domino I wasn't expecting.

The thing I'm convinced about is that if a decision's worth making it's worth making properly. Many people don't ask the right questions or don't see their decisions through to the end, many people don't make decisions at all too scared of where they might lead (although that is in itself a decision). Many people stop the domino chain in mid-flight, and that just doesn't seem right it seems a little too anti-climactic.  

Don't live in fear of the 'sliding doors' moment, the 'what if' or 'what could be'. Instead, ask questions, use reason, think and then make a decision and go for the ride. The world needs people of integrity, people who don't shift and change or who are blown around by every latest trend or idea. People who stick to their guns and finish what they start.

I wince when I know a painful domino's coming up, wince when I miss one that should have gone down but didn't because I allowed inconsistency to creep in. Today I choose to firm up my resolve to continue to allow the decision I made was I was 16 (and again when I was 18, and 20 and 24 and 27) to play out in my life. I don't want to look back on my life and see dozens of half finished domino chains, I want to live well to strive for consistency and integrity. I want to whole-heartedly and unreservedly follow Jesus, come what may, come dominoes big and small, heavy and light.

I'm not advocating close-minded narrow living...

or maybe I am.

When a sailor knows where his ship is heading he better be close-minded to every other possibility or else he'll never reach his destination.

I suppose what I'm saying is - point your life, aim it and make the relevant decisions to get you where you want to go. Don't quit.