Merriam-Webster defines a do-over as “a new attempt or opportunity to do something after a previous attempt has been unsuccessful or unsatisfactory.”
If you’re anything like me, you hate to fail. I mean, I HATE to fail! I am a born competitor, and it has served me well in certain areas of my life. Take sports, for instance. I wasn’t always the best on the team, but every coach I ever had complimented me on my competitive nature. Being competitive helped me win when others had way more raw talent than I did. I simply hated to lose.
Being competitive doesn’t work so well in everyday life, however. Especially when life doesn’t cooperate with our plans.
When I think about attempting something and being unsuccessful at it, I instantly think about my divorce. Talk about failure! I felt like a total and complete failure when I went through a divorce after 20 years of marriage. Never mind that I didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter, I still felt like I had let myself, my kids, my family, my friends and, most of all, my God down. The guilt and shame were overwhelming.
My competitive nature started working violently against me as I compared my life to the “happy” couples around me. How had I botched up my life so badly? What was wrong with me?
I felt myself sinking into a pit of despair, and then one day God gently whispered in my ear through the wise words of a trusted friend, “This is like a great big do-over.” Something stirred in my spirit as I instantly remembered that phrase from my childhood. A do-over was like a free pass; and when we messed up in a game, we simply asked for a do-over or outright demanded, “I get a do-over!” It was like the mistake had never happened, and we got to try again.
I desperately needed that in my life right then, and I clung to those words with every part of my being. Those simple words from my childhood gave me a fresh view of my very messed-up life.
Instead of every dream I had being destroyed, this was an opportunity to make new dreams.
Instead of believing I would never be truly happy again, this was an opportunity to find my true happiness in Christ, not in the circumstances around me.
Instead of trying to be someone I wasn’t in order to please everyone else, I could confidently step into who God created me to be.
It’s amazing how when you change your perspective and chose to look at life through a different lens, everything starts changing. There were still a myriad of feelings to work through and real-life issues to deal with that were extremely challenging and painful, but I had something I had not had before…hope. Hope that I really could start over with a fresh, clean slate.
This was, indeed, my great big do-over!
My theme verse became:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Notice that verse says the new creation “has” come. It’s already here, waiting for us to embrace it and step fully into it. We are not defined by our failures but by the promises of God; and His Word clearly says that the old is gone, it’s done. His grace covers every mistake, and we are given the opportunity to start over every single day! I don’t know about you, but that is powerful truth that calms the beast of my competitive nature.
Because here’s the deal, I still mess up. I still fail…all the time. Just like you. And I still don’t like it, but I’m not nearly as hard on myself as I used to be. I’m trusting and believing that God will continue to make me a new creation until the day I go home to glory. I will continually be a work in progress. And that's okay!
As long as I'm willing to admit my mistakes and choose to learn from them rather than let them define me, God will continue to make me more and more into the person He created me to be.
I encourage you, my friend, if you’ve been defining yourself by your failures, no matter how big or small, remember that God is inviting you to a great big do-over! His tender hand of love is reaching down to remind you that His mercy is new every single day. You get a clean slate, a fresh page, a new start. You are not defined by your failures.
The old is forgotten, it’s gone. The new is here, right now!
It’s your turn to have a great big do-over!
Hugs and love,