Have you ever wanted a do-over? There’s a whole span of my life I would love to do better.
I’ve pictured the whole thing. Maybe I could go back and give my old self a “talking to.” No, that wouldn’t work. I’ve watched enough movies to know that would cause some rift in the space-time continuum. Maybe I could just re-live my life. I’d know what I know now, of course. Wait, that wouldn’t work either. What would happen to everyone else who didn’t re-live their lives? And what would happen if you didn’t like something? There would be a continuous loop. God doesn’t give do-overs.
There’s no getting around it. I have to live with the choices I’ve made, but there is this:
I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve seen good come already, and I trust that more good will come. See, we’re all connected. He uses the circumstances of each of us to help others.
I trust God will use my mess-ups to help someone else.
1 – God’s advice has always been there for the asking.
My number one mistake has always been not asking God’s will. Whatever the situation. I could have saved myself so much heartache, wasted time, money…you name it.
The sad thing is, I read my Bible and wanted to do the right thing, but it never even occurred to me to ask the One I wanted to please what His opinion was. Don’t make the same mistake.
2 – Not everyone who says they’re a Christian, is.
I don’t say this for purposes of judging everyone you meet, but the Bible has given us guidance on recognizing His people by the fruit they bear.
I didn’t understand this when I was younger. I was naive enough to take a person at his word. I dated people I shouldn’t have because of my naivete.
I know now to look further. By the time I met my husband, I knew not to take him at his word. Yes, his word was important.
- But did he also read his Bible?
- Did he go to church?
- Did he want to talk about God?
- Did he want to do all these things before he met me?
- Was he consistent in what he said he believed and what he did?
- Was he respectful to those around him?
You get the idea.
Being a Christian is more than saying it or checking a box on Facebook. It’s a relationship that starts with accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. Then it’s born out when the Holy Spirit within moves us to live differently than the world around us. This is what others will see.
And it’s how we recognize each other. It’s important in identifying those we need to pray for. It’s important in knowing who we shouldn’t date and marry. Those with whom we should and shouldn’t go into business partnerships.
When you attach yourself to someone who doesn’t really believe in Jesus, their attitudes will influence you. You won’t pull them to God. It’ll be the opposite. Trust me.
3 – It really only matters what One person thinks of me.
Oh, the places I would go.
I’ve come far, but I’m still working on this one. Not that I have any of them mastered, but this one’s on a “bane of my existence” level.
You know, I didn’t even know my hair was wavy until adulthood? That’s a silly example, but it’s a microcosm of the bigger problem. What else have I missed – what opportunity to grow, to help someone – because I was afraid to step out?
Like the servant in the above verse, I want to be faithful with what I’ve been entrusted. I want to hear my Savior say “well done.” I certainly don’t want to hear what the other servant heard. He buried his one talent in fear, and His master didn’t appreciate it.
4 – God’s got this. Really.
Dr. Charles Stanley has a story he tells that ends with God saying to him, “Charlie, do you want your best for you or mine?” I did my life “my way” for the majority of the last decade. I didn’t trust that God had a plan for me and took things into my own hands. I had a schedule to keep after all.
Everyone knows education, marriage, and a family have a strict time-table. As time went on, the more panicked I became and the less I listened because things weren’t going according to plan.
The world is wrong. The only schedule to keep is God’s.
God, in His grace, brought me through my plans and lists. He gifted me with someone better than I dreamed of, but I have baggage thanks to past decisions.
I hope you’ll make different decisions.
5 – The Bible is the ultimate compass.
Did you know all life’s problems can be solved in the Bible? It’s the blueprint for our lives.
Want to know how a man should treat you? Look in the Bible.
Want to know how you should treat a man? Read the Bible.
Need to know how to deal with difficult people? You guessed it. The Bible will tell you.
We have to read it – though – to know it. This, for the most part, hasn’t been my problem. I’ve had an application problem. See, step two after reading is applying what we read. We have to reach that point when we say, “I’m living by the Word of God, and that’s all there is to it.”
This requires being all in. No justification of actions. The Bible is pretty black and white. It says honor your parents. That’s it. Not when you feel like it. Not if they give you what you want that day or if it’s easy. It says sex outside of marriage is fornication. That’s it. It doesn’t say sex is okay if you’re in college. Or in a committed relationship. Or if you’re tired of your current spouse.
Unfortunately, there is no do-over. How I’ve wanted one with everything inside me at times. I’m sure that’s not healthy. Forward is the only way to go. I have a choice: I can wallow in past mistakes, or I can ask forgiveness and move on. I must run the race set before me now.
The same goes for you – whatever your situation.
If you’ve not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, there’s still time, but the time is now. Don’t waste precious time. Yes, you’re a sinner. He died for your sins and rose again to give you LIFE. Accept his gift and live.
Pray a prayer like this if you choose life:
Lord, I’ve sinned against You. I’ve done things I’m not proud of. Please forgive me. Wash me clean. I accept You as my Savior. Thank You for Your death on the cross and for rising again that I can have life through You. Amen.
If you just prayed that prayer, I’m so happy for you. Get a Bible (any translation you’ll read) and read it every day. There are great resources at In Touch Ministries.
I would love to hear from you. Share if you prayed that prayer. For others, what do you wish you had known when you were younger?