Choosing Your Mistakes: Something I Need to Say Before I Die

by Andy Wood on April 22, 2010

in Five LV Laws, Hoarders, Life Currency, Love, LV Alter-egos, Pleasers, Principle of Legacy, Tense Truths, Time

In the course of this short year so far, I have been reminded suddenly, and sometimes rudely, how short life can be, and how there are no guarantees of the things or people we tend to take for granted in this world.

I have also been reminded that life is filled with the potential to make mistakes.  Sometimes those mistakes arise out of misguided values.  Sometimes out of boneheaded stubbornness.  Sometimes mistakes arise out of good things taken too far in self-serving directions.  Often those mistakes come when we lose our sense of balance.

I’ve thought a lot lately about how short life is, and frankly, sometimes how much shorter that I wish it could be.  Hillsong United’s “Soon” sure sounds appealing:

Soon and very soon my King is coming

Robed in righteousness and crowned with love

When I see Him, I shall be made like Him

Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon I’ll be going

To the place He has prepared for me

There my sin erased, my shame forgotten

Soon and very soon

I will be with the One I love

With unveiled face I’ll see Him

There my soul will be satisfied

Soon and very soon

Knowing that life has no guarantees, and legacy still matters, I have made an important decision.  I’ve decided that with whatever time I have left, I will be intentional about the mistakes I make

You read that right.

Rather than looking at screwups as accidents or blunders, I’ve decided to just go ahead and make some choices sure to be criticized, misunderstood, or second-guessed.  Oh well.  I never have accomplished much anyway when I bent over backwards to impress or please the Critics Club.

So here goes.  Here are the mistakes I plan to make, if I must make one…

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of staying in the battle a little too long.  Some things – and some people – are worth fighting for, even at the risk of getting wounded myself.  I would rather hear God say, “You were too stubbornly persistent” than to hear Him say, “You abandoned the causes and people you said you loved most.”

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of being a hopeless optimist.  As long as God has power, love, and a faithful heart, things and people can change.  I would rather look like a fool expecting something better than live like a cynic, entrenched in frozen disappointment, and accepting failure as final.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of believing the best about people.  I would much rather risk having my trust in others betrayed because I saw them in terms of what they could be, than live in constant suspicion, ready to denounce someone at the first sign of trouble.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of covering up somebody else’s failures.  I would rather risk disappointing the gossips, judges and scandal chasers, even if I suffer for it, than making the greater mistake of destroying a life with my words.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of being ridiculously enthusiastic about anybody who walks in integrity and sincerity of heart.  I would rather hear God say that I was too crazy-excited or over-concerned about a righteous numbskull than to hear Him say I had a heart of stone.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of hating evil too much.  I would rather be called “holier than thou” than “worldlier than thou,” just for the sake of pleasing hard-hearted people.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of being too forgiving.  I would rather spend my time counting the blessings I have received because God has greatly forgiven me of my sins than waste another minute nursing my wounds or itemizing the sins of others.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of bottling my rage.  I would rather laugh at myself and remember I am not nearly as important as my ego would lead me to believe than to spend a lifetime trying to undo the damage caused by words I can never un-say.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of deferring to others too much.  Better to go with unmet needs and unfulfilled desires than to spend my life pursuing my own plans, insisting on my own rights, or chasing my own desired possessions at the neglect of others.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of being too polite.  I would rather be criticized for being a pushover than be an inconsiderate, insensitive jerk.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of believing I’m not that important.  Better to bend over in an effort to walk in unity and humility than to find myself at the other end of God’s humbling work.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of being too mysterious.  I would rather say nothing and have people wonder who I really am than to brag and have them despise who I have become.  I would rather celebrate the accomplishments of others because I listened than to emotionally abandon them because all I did was talk.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of being too generous.  I would rather stand before God and hear Him say I was too loose with my money, time, or possessions than hear Him say that I was always wanting what someone else had or selfish with my own possessions.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of being too kind.  I would rather be accused of being too naively nice, stupidly expecting nothing in return, than to withhold goodness, kindness, and acts of goodwill and expect others to serve me.

If I’m going to make a mistake, I will make the mistake of waiting too long.  I would rather be called a fool for shouldering disappointments, evil or injury from others without resentment or revenge than stand before God and hear Him say, “You were so close, but you gave up.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if I’m going to make a mistake, I want to make the mistake of loving.  I’m sure I’ll make mistakes, even in making my mistakes!  But I’d like to invite you to join me.  What have you got to lose…

…except a lifetime of regret?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharma April 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

Wow, this is great. I really needed to hear this today. I hope to take the challenge and make the mistakes you mentioned rather than the ones I feel I am on the verge of making. Thank you & God bless you.

Andy Wood April 22, 2010 at 9:45 am

Thank you, Sharma. I appreciate your encouragement, and am “believing all things and hoping all things” for you.

Paige Phillips April 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

On the heels of one of the most heart breaking times in my life that I never imagined could or would be possible, this is so encouraging! Gives a new perspective and brings a new level of healing to this heart.

March on, Andy Wood!!! Be blessed and keep that pen going!

Mattie April 22, 2010 at 11:12 am

Andy, here’s to a lifetime of mistakes!!! Thanks for the reminder bro! You’ve been on my heart lately. Excited to hear how the Lord is moving!
.-= Mattie´s last blog ..Practicing What You Preach =-.

Carlos April 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Pastor Andy good word, thats how the believer should live that was straight from the The Bible.
God Bless You

Andy Wood April 25, 2010 at 9:24 am

@Paige – What an amazing encourager you are, even in the wake of your own hurts. Thank you.

@Mattie – Even more to the story. We got some catching up to do… both ways. In the famous words of Eeyore, Thanks for thinkin’ of me!

@Carlos – Thank you for recognizing that. In fact, this whole piece was applied from a specific place in Scripture. Yet it amazes me how often people have to defend themselves to other believers for making choices like this. Thank you for your friendship and encouragement.

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