By: Mae Lewis
Have you ever wanted a “do-over” in life? You wouldn’t be a human being if you didn’t make mistakes. As we get older, it is easy to look back and see the one choice we made (or didn’t make) that would have changed everything — the choice to…smoke the first cigarette…stay in a toxic relationship…have one too many drinks…eat too much…not go to college…get married…not get married.
Sometimes we don’t see the consequences of a choice for many years. Sometimes the consequences are so far reaching that we feel like there is no way to come back from it. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of thinking that this is how life is going to be, and there is no way to fix the mistake.
If you fell down in the dirt, would you stay there? No. You would get up and dust yourself off. But how many of us have stayed “in the dirt” because we think we’ve messed up too badly to move forward?
Time travel isn’t possible, but second chances are. The good news is that “do-overs” can happen. Every day that you live is another chance to get it right. No matter how far down the rabbit hole you have gone, there is always an opportunity to turn around and set things right.
It’s not a mistake if you learned something from it! There are valuable lessons to be learned from our mistakes, but there is no point in staying where you are if it’s not where you want to be. It doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. Some things can’t be undone. You may not be able to undo the choices that got you here, but you can change how things end up. It was your choices that got you here. And it is your choices that can move you out of this.
Where do you want to be? Are you making progress toward your goal? Progress means getting closer to your destination. If you made a wrong turn somewhere, then don’t keep going forward. Sometimes progress means that you have to go back and find the right road.
That is the story of the prodigal son. He finally reached the point where he had to give up and turn around. He wanted a do-over. Sometimes you have to go back to the beginning and start over again. That’s what he did.
That is really the message of the gospel, the message of Christianity — that everyone gets a do-over. No matter how many times you fall down or mess up, there is always an opportunity to get up again and move forward. So many Christians feel like they can’t admit their mistakes or their struggles because they aren’t acting “like a Christian.”
But we are ALL sinners who struggle with the temptations and weaknesses of life. The mark of a Christian is someone who keeps moving forward and doesn’t keep playing in the dirt.
C.S. Lewis wrote:
“I know all about the despair of overcoming chronic temptations. It is not serious, provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience, etc. doesn’t get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean linen clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of his presence.”
NO AMOUNT OF FALLS WILL REALLY UNDO US. The point is to not give up and to keep moving forward. As long as we keep moving forward, it doesn’t matter how dirty we get. Keep getting nearer to where you want to be. Even one step is nearer than you were.
Maybe you struggle with an addiction. Maybe you regret a choice you made 20 years ago. Maybe your life hasn’t turned out the way you want it. Maybe you have broken relationships that need healing. You have a chance today to make a change, and if you mess it up today, you can get it right tomorrow. There are ALWAYS second chances.
There is ALWAYS hope.
Every day that you live is another chance to do it right.
By: Mae Lewis