Do You Need A Do Over?

do over

What’s on my heart and in my head this week are do overs. New chances.  Proceed.  Revive.   Re start.  Verbs.

I know that New Year’s resolutions are cheesy and unrealistic so I don’t usually participate.  I do however, see nothing wrong with using the beginning of the New Year to evaluate life and all that that has entailed over the last year.  Celebrate accomplishments, be thankful for blessings, and examine any failures or disappointments more closely.  I don’t want to repeat those negatives.  Can I do anything to make them right?  What’s the lesson to be learned?

With self-evaluation, there is usually regret somewhere along the way.  I stumbled across this little jewel from 2 Corinthians while studying and I love it!

 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

2 Corinthians 7:10

It’s ok to have regret!  The key is to talk to God about it so He can move us away from that place.  If we feel that He is disappointed with us, Godly sorrow will come.  That sadness will bring repentance leading to salvation.

repentance

 

noun re·pen·tance \ri-ˈpen-təns\

:  the action or process of acknowledging regret for having done something wrong

 

Repentance is a word that is used in churches a lot.   It simply means to acknowledge our wrongdoing.  That’s it.  Just admit it.

 

Once we feel bad about something we’ve done, (or didn’t do for that matter), have talked to God about it and felt that Godly sorrow that only He can bring, He rescues us from feeling regretful.  He rescues us.  Saves us.

 

The second part of that verse says “…worldly sorrow brings death”.   Can you believe how much truth is in this little nugget?  God decides what is true and what is not.  I would never have thought to put it this way but it is accurate.  So accurate.

 

Ever said something you later regretted?  Do you need to start eating better and taking care of the body you’ve been given?  Has your family been asking you to go to church with them?  Are you a student who has been given the privilege of education and your goal isn’t to do your best, but to just pass?  Is your family waiting on you to take that road trip out for a visit and you just keep putting it off?  Are you supposed to volunteer somewhere or take a paying job you’ve been putting off?

 

Feeling a little regretful?  Sorrowful?  Sad?  Even bitter?

 

“…Worldly sorrow brings death”.  The world would have you comparing your body to others, leading you straight to Ben and Jerry for comfort…thinking you’re a horrible person for not attending church…questioning that you should probably drop out of school since you’ll never succeed…beating yourself up for not making time for that family visit…etc. etc. etc.  Remorse.  Shame.  Regret.  Does this sound like a slow death to you?  Absolutely!

 

Here’s the good news, you get a do over!!  Even better, it comes with NO regret!!  So don’t take that part with you.  Leave it at the door.

 

Start the process this week of reflecting on this past year.  The good and the bad.  Take out a piece of paper.  Start documenting your triumphs as well as your losses.  Make sure that you write down more of the good than the bad.

 

Now take those losses and begin to pray.  Ask the Father if you can do anything to move forward and still make those right.  Sometimes what’s done is done.  You’ve got to give it to Him and trust that He’ll make something good from it.  But, sometimes, you are given the opportunity to make some slight adjustments and take a loss and move it over to the win column.

 

Let’s start this process.  Start writing.  Start praying.  As you begin to formulate plans for your do overs, jot down practical goals and solutions to get them met.

 

Write that note of apology…begin the journey to good health…set your alarm for Sunday morning church…put that trip on your calendar.  Don’t wait until you feel like it, just do it.  Your feelings will catch up later.

 

Pray.

Write.

Repent.

Move.

 

Be thankful for the opportunity to try again, that we can trust Him to take care of what we cannot, and that He saves us from the regret that the world would have us carry.  Be very thankful.  Not everyone gets a chance for a do over.

Wide Open Spaces

           Meet…Dixie.

10860~3

Our neighbors have chickens and roosters.  For whatever reason, about once a week, this little blondie wanders over to our side of the fence.  She’s alone, minding her own business.  She roots around looking for food, taking her time.  Sometimes she visits for about an hour and other times she’s here half the day.  There used to be a country singing group called The Dixie Chicks and they sang a song called Wide Open Spaces.

 

That’s why I call her Dixie.  She seems to need her space.  She’s prone to wander.

 

Much like my thoughts.

 

When I was younger, I learned the hard way that once you let words come out of your mouth, there is no getting them back.  Like squirting toothpaste from the tube, once it’s out, it’s out.  Our words can heal or they can hurt.  No amount of apologizing, explaining or justifying can ever undo the damage that our words can inflict.  There was a time that I spoke out one too many times, and it cost me a very valuable friendship.

 

Looking back, it was then that I started being more of a listener and observer than a talker.  I was determined to examine every single syllable before it moved across my lips.  The flip side to this is that I tend to over think everything before I say it.  Everything.

 

To be honest, I hate it.  I can get so focused on upcoming conversations that I drive myself crazy.  A silent battle goes on in my mind that no one else can see.

 

God knows our thoughts, the enemy does not. But, the enemy does know the power of the mind.  That’s why the Apostle Paul warns us about this.

 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:5b

 

Some of the things that are taking place in our heads are setting us up against the knowledge of God.  Over thinking can lead to fear.  It leads to doubting ourselves.  It pushes us to try to predict.

 

Over thinking takes us down a path of our own making.  With our backs to God, we blindly follow the trail that is laying itself out right before us.

 

 

Take captive.

 

CAPTIVE

1 a  taken and held as or as if a prisoner of war
     b (1) :  kept within bounds :  confined (2) :  of or relating to captive     animals <captive breeding>
2 :  held under control of another but having the appearance of independence; especially :  owned or controlled by another concern and operated for its needs rather than for an open market <acaptive mine>
 3  :  being such involuntarily because of a situation that makes free choice or departure difficult <acaptive audience>

 

When you need to take something captive, what do you imagine?  Wrangling a herd of cats?  Chasing down a horse that has escaped its pen. Luring the chickens back into their coop?

 

 

We know that these animals are better off when they are in our care, when they have boundaries.  Our thought life needs boundaries.  The word of God sets them.

 

God knew that our thoughts would be prone to wander, just like Dixie.  He knows all too well that the place they can take us can be dangerous, even life threatening for some.

 

 

Paul’s words don’t say that He will wrangle our thoughts for us.  It says for us to take captive.  We are responsible.

 

 

While we can make it a daily prayer to ask God to help us with this, and we should, we are ultimately in charge of getting ourselves off of the road that we are walking if our thoughts are not in alignment with our knowledge of God.

 

 

When we realize that we are over thinking, let’s use that as a trigger to pray.  Let’s tell God that we trust Him with whatever it is we’re rolling around in our minds.  Then…move.  Get back inside the boundaries where we are free to relax, trust and even play.  It’s a safe place.

 

 

Serve someone.  Call a friend and catch up.  Engage in something positive.  It will help chase away those previous thoughts.  But be warned, they will try to return, this is a discipline that we must exercise regularly.

 

 

We must stay on guard.

 

 

Run back to the safety of God’s word when our thoughts have strayed too far.

 

 

Keep our wrangling ropes handy.