“Do-overs” are great! I remember being very young and hearing the expression, “Do-over.” Usually we were playing a game and someone would mess up and that person would say, “Do-over!” Many years later, as an adult, I was standing on the first tee box on a golf course. I hit a terrible shot and someone said, “Take a mulligan.” (Hit another ball). I did. (The first of many taken through the years). “Do-overs” are great!
I can look back and see some areas of my life where I wish that I could have a “do-over.” If you could go back and do some things differently, what would you do? This is what I have been thinking:
1. I would enjoy the moment more. How often I have found myself anxious about the future instead of just living fully in the moment. Several times in our marriage, Charlotte has said to me, “Why don’t we just enjoy right now, instead of getting so upset.” (Maybe upset with the kids, etc.)
2. I would laugh more. Yes, there are things that happen that are frustrating, terrible, horrible, etc. Yes, I know that there are moments that are tense. But–there are so many little moments that are funny! Charlotte and I once knew a woman who cut out cartoons from the newspaper and posted them on the refrigerator door because she wanted to encourage her family to laugh.
3. I would spend less time worrying about people who choose to be miserable. I really thought, many years ago, that if a person did everything just right then the people around him/her would all be happy. As a young preacher, I thought the same about the church. I did not realize that there are people who almost enjoy being miserable. (I am not saying this with any sarcasm. I am serious). There are people who have functioned that way most of their lives. Every now and then a naive person will come along and think that if everything was just so-so for these people that they would finally be happy. Not true. (It is sort of like the situation that police officers sometimes face where they get a domestic violence call. A husband and wife are fighting. Upon his/her arrival, they stop fighting one another and start attacking the officer).
4. I would pay more attention to people who need loving than worrying about why I wasn’t being loved, or encouraged, or appreciated, etc.
5. I would focus more on loving my wife and children in everyday, practical ways. When all is said and done, I am very dispensable in most areas of my life. However, I am the only husband and father that my wife and children have.
6. I would pay more attention to what God is already doing in the people who he brings into my life. Too often, I have focused on the future, thinking that one day all of the circumstances will finally come together. The moment is what I have.
7. I would accept and appreciate the situation that I am in (with all of its messiness), instead of always thinking “If only…” I can get into the “if only” mentality right now. When I do that I begin to feel like a victim. “Things would be different for me if only we had better…more…different…new…” Then I begin to feel like a victim thinking that if it weren’t for someone else’s shortcomings, my life, circumstances, the church, etc. would be so much better.
What would you do differently? Thinking about this has been good. It reminds me that I still can live differently. This week.