The girls were playing a spirited game of Hi-Ho Cherry-O this morning, much to Olivia’s delight. She loves it when the older two acquiesce and play a non-reading game with her so she has a somewhat equal chance to win. Anyway, I kept hearing Emma shout, “Do-over! Do-over!” every so often. Apparently, the game had morphed into each girl trying to get the cardboard spinner to land on the maximum amount of cherries. They were having fun and being completely silly shouting “Do-over, Do-over” again and again. I love seeing my kids both having fun and at peace with each other…it can be a rarity around here!
As I finished up in the kitchen, that word kept ringing in my ears–“Do-Over! Do-Over!” I’ve had more than a few days lately that have ended with my heart screaming that same phrase as my head hit the pillow. It isn’t so much that I haven’t accomplished anything or been totally out of step with the Lord, but I know in my heart that my attitude has been less than Christ-like. Or, I’ve said something to my children or husband with a sharp tone. Or, worse, I’ve had a critical spirit. And when it’s quiet in my home and in my heart, there is deep conviction and a desperate wish that I could somehow go back and do it all over again…only this time in Christ instead of my flesh.
But, we don’t get “do-overs” do we? We don’t get the chance to travel back to a spent moment and right our wrong words or correct our critical spirits or tame the tongue that spewed out angry or hurtful or careless words. Every moment of each day is a gift, if we choose to view it that way. And while I know it isn’t possible to be perfect or to even strive for perfection–that in and of itself is sinful thinking–we can always submit more of ourselves to Christ’s gentle teaching and leading. After all, He was fully human and can relate to the temptation to lash out in anger when your husband piles your freshly cleaned kitchen with loads of dirty dishes. He knows how difficult it is to listen to the same Sunday School song over and over and over ad naseum. He knows how hard it is to keep that critical spirit in check when you see a friend obviously teetering on the absolute edge of a wrong choice.
He knows because we do the same to Him. We pile our filth into the once-clean heart He has made in us, forcing Him to start the cleansing process anew. And He loves us. He listens to our sing-songy complaints over and over and over, usually about the same issues. And He loves us and tells us His grace is sufficient. And He sees the almost daily routine we have of teetering on the edge of disaster as we flirt with sin and transgression. And He lovingly pulls us into safety…because of His great love for us.
I was talking with my best friend last week about our individual testimonies and how somehow, the sensational testimonies–you know, the ones where believers attest to being rescued from drugs, alcohol, abuse, infidelity, addictions, and the like–are sometimes put on a pedestal. I think the intention is to offer proof that through Christ, God can transform even the most awful life and we can have a relationship with Him. But, that isn’t always the way those testimonies are viewed, are they? I’ve heard other believers–in fact, I’ve been one of those believers–that feels like my own testimony isn’t powerful enough because there isn’t enough “dirt” to make it a good story. But the truth is that the best testimonies are the ones of believers who testify that they have always believed in Christ. That they were raised by Christian parents, believed from a young age that the Bible is true, have always trusted in Jesus, have always understood that their own sin nature needed to be kept in check. Those are powerful stories because there isn’t a need for “do-overs.” They are powerful because they offer proof that we don’t need to succumb to temptation in order to be fully saved. There is GREAT comfort for me as a parent in knowing that my kids can understand the pull of sin and their separation from God NOW, and choose to live for Christ from now on.
Let’s live for Jesus with no thoughts of “Do-overs.” Let’s let Him love those around us through us. Let’s stop right now, confess our need for Him to renew our spirits and create clean hearts in us and let’s allow the quiet peace of our hearts testify loudly.
Lord, forgive me for not letting you live through me at all times. Help me to be more like You. Help me to let go and let You do whatever You think is best. Help me to not over-think every decision and choice. Forgive me for misusing the gift of administration to try to control every thing and every one, just to make myself feel more comfortable. I know I don’t get any “do-overs,” but please redeem the mistakes I have made and use them for your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.