“Do-overs” are great!
I was very young when I first heard the expression, “Do-over.” I remember that my friends and I were playing a game. Someone messed up (went out of bounds, missed the ball, made the wrong move, etc. I do not remember.) and someone else yelled: “do-over”! 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” (Just another word for do-over). I then took another shot (the first of many mulligans taken through the years).
“Do-overs” are great! I can look back and see some areas of my life in which I wish I could have a “do-over.” I now realize that I could have handled some things differently in my life. In some cases, I would have responded differently or handled a matter differently.
For example, if I could have a “do-over”:
1. I would learn to enjoy the moment more. Far too often I have spent too much energy being anxious about the future instead of 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.” I want to fully enjoy the moment instead of living in the past or future.
2. I would laugh more. Have you ever been around someone who was overly serious about themselves? Perhaps you say something light (small talk about the weather, the local sports team, etc.) and the person becomes very serious. All you were trying to do was to make small talk. When I am around someone like this, I usually feel a sense of caution.
Yes, there are things that happen in life that are frustrating, terrible, horrible, etc. At the same time, I don’t want to take myself too seriously. I would like to know that people generally feel at ease in my presence. Laughter has a way of putting people at ease, especially when you laugh at yourself. If I could have a do-over, I would fully enjoy the moments in life that are light and humorous.
3. I would spend less time worrying about people who choose to be miserable. There are people who choose to have negative attitudes. As a young minister, I thought if I did my work right then the people in the congregation will all be happy with me. Uh, not exactly. I eventually realized there are people who have chosen a negative, fault-finding attitude and do not want anyone to interrupt them. Many of these people have functioned this way for much of their lives.
Every now and then, a person will come along and mistakenly think that if everything is just so-so then these people will finally be happy. Not true. (Often this becomes like the situations police officers sometimes face when they get a domestic violence call. A husband and wife may have been fighting one another, but both can suddenly begin attacking the officer.)
4. I would pay more attention to people who need to be loved 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. The most important relationship investment that I can make each day is in my family.
6. I would pay more attention to what God is already doing in my life right now. 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 thinking “If only…” thoughts. “Things would be different for me if only we had better…more…different…new…” God has given me this moment. I would like to be more grateful instead of telling God that I really need something else.
What would you do differently? What might you do differently this week?