May I Have a Do-over?

As I approach yet another birthday in my seventh decade, I reflect back on my life with gratitude for all the lessons learned through life experiences. But at the same time I can’t help but to recall times and decisions I wish I could do over. It’s funny to me how much you can love something that you totally suck at. I love golf. If my body and finances would let me, I’d play every day. But I would want do-overs on just about every hole. I know the stance, the swing mechanics and the proper club selection, but rarely does it all come together for a par.

Life can be the same. It’s easy to get caught up in “what ifs”. What if I’d chosen a different career? What if I’d finished college or chosen a different major? What if I’d pursued that dream a little earlier in life? What if I’d chosen a different relationship?What if I’d recognized my God-given purpose and walked in it sooner? As I look back I can easily identify so many situations that I’d do over. Is it the same with you?

Im grateful that my God is a God of do-overs. When you study some of the main characters in scripture you’ll find most were given a do-over. Jonah disobeyed God and ended up in a fish but was given a do-over. David had a man killed so he could take his wife, but was given a do-over. Peter denied knowing his master Jesus not once but three times, but Jesus gave him a do-over. And perhaps the greatest do-over in history, the Apostle Paul, who persecuted and killed those who followed Christ, was transformed and given a humongous do-over that resulted in over half of our New Testament. Gods grace and patience in our lives results in a myriad of second chances. At nearly sixty-one years old I’m finding that to be true more each day.

There is something else equally important. While I’m still a man of many imperfections, I feel I’m finally walking in my purpose. It took me a long time to get to this point. But I realize that every event and every season of my life, including those I may at first wish to do over, were used to get me to where I am now. It really is true, according to Romans, that all things, good or bad, work together for the good of those who love God and are in pursuit of his purpose. Even things sent our way intended for evil purposes, are turned around for our good. Although I might do things differently if given the chance, I can be at peace knowing that God eventually guided my path so that I may be where I am now, even if that path resembles the Israelite journey through the wilderness, a two week trip that took forty, or sixty-one years in my case, to complete.

The rest of your life begins today. Don’t get caught up in things you can’t do over, but rather embrace the fact that in Christ and with his daily measure of mercy, each day can be a do over. Don’t determine your path forward by looking backwards. The past is a history that can’t be changed, but God is already in your future. God bless you.

Getting Rid of the Clutter

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  To those who missed it, I apologize.  I’ve been in the process of selling a home I owned and lived in for nearly twenty years and it was a bit of a chore.  It’s amazing to me just how much stuff one person can accumulate over the course of many years.  I don’t enjoy the task of moving.  I am one who will do anything to make it easier.  Since I was moving to a smaller place, I found it necessary to get rid of things as I went through them, mainly because I would not have anywhere in my new place to store them, and paying to store something you don’t need or use makes little sense to me.  I think what I found most curious was the number of items I possessed that I had completely forgotten about, things I hadn’t seen, needed or used in many years.  And while I acquired them at some point for some purpose or desire, they had outlived their usefulness, or I had outgrown my need of them.  So as you might imagine, it was very easy for me to donate these things either to a worthy charity, or to the closest hungry dumpster I could find.  Getting rid of all the useless clutter made my moving forward so mush easier and even enjoyable.

Lesson learned.  Clutter is often defined as a disorderly array of unwanted or useless items that just take up space.  When it comes to life applications, clutter that most of us have may be defined by many intangible things.  Your clutter may be lingering guilt over bad decisions you made years ago that you should be long past by now. Your clutter may be feelings of inadequacies due to certain failures in business ventures or your career choices.  Your clutter may be anger or bitterness over being betrayed in a relationship or marriage.   Granted, not all clutter is necessarily bad or painful, but clutter in a life takes up precious space that could be designated for things more enjoyable and meaningful.  When a computer begins to slow down in its processing speed it is often necessary to go into the Settings and eliminate the cache, or digital clutter if you will, that is taking up memory and storage, so that the computer can perform more efficiently and that precious memory space can be cleared up to download more relevant and current items.

A life is not much different.  A popular television show was one called Hoarders, about real life people who had homes so filled with clutter that they could not easily move from one room to the next.  In many of the situations the city would have to step in and take temporary possession of the home to clean it out as the conditions resulting from the mass of clutter was deemed a health hazard to its occupant, even though the homeowner didn’t recognize it as a problem.  It just isn’t healthy to be surrounded with so much stuff that your existence  and mobility are so severely impeded, whether your clutter is like mine, a house full of items no longer useful, or a mind full of memories, guilt, resentment, disappointment, bitterness or anything else taking up valuable space that could be used for things more enjoyable.

There are some key scriptures that deal directly with putting away things of the past, or getting rid of the clutter:

“Forgetting what is behind me, I strain for what is before me”…Philippians 3:13

“Forget the things of the past”…Isaiah 43:18

“Anyone who is in Christ has been made new; the old you is gone and the new you is here”…2Corinthinas 5:17

“A time to keep things, and a time to throw things away”…Ecclesiastes 3:6

“Throw off everything that hinders and entangles you”…Hebrews 12:1

“Get rid of (the clutter) of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and all malice”…Ephesians 4:31

When I was able to move everything I needed into such a small area at the age of 57, I can’t describe the freedom I had of knowing I had everything I wanted and needed and nothing more.  I now have plenty of room to add things I am more into now and would be more likely to enjoy because I rid myself of things I may have bought twenty years ago that were just taking up space in a closet, unseen, unneeded and unused.  There is much more room for peace and joy in a life that has been decluttered to make room for them.  I also learned in the process to not wait so long to get rid of the clutter next time.  It will make my life much easier, more joyful and full of peace and contentment, things for which one can never have enough of!