What do you do when life falls apart? This message in his four-part series explains how to pick up the pieces. The title of this series is “Starting Over” and the subtitle is “How to ensure next time won’t be like last time”. How do we be sure next time won’t be like last time? Keep listening to this message for the answer.
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Here are some highlights from this message about Starting Over from Andy Stanley.
If you are starting over a relationship, you just lost your job, you flunked out of school, these can all be start overs that are completely your fault or other people’s fault. There are some basic things that if we all just do right the next time, we will all definitely do better than the last time. There are certain mistakes you only make one time and then you’ve learned your lesson, and in areas that matter the least we seem to learn the quickest. But we repeat our mistakes in the areas that matter most. The areas of finances, relationships, things we do with our kids, things we do at work, things we do at school and after we repeat the same mistake a few times and suffer the same consequences we ask ourselves this all important question, “when will I learn?” Life has enough unavoidable pain, I mean if you made every one of your decisions perfectly, you’re still going to have pain in life. There are still going to be disappointments in life, things are just going to go wrong sometimes. So when I see people make unnecessarily bad decisions financially, relationally, professionally, academically, it just kind of breaks my heart.
At 4:39, Andy continues to talk about the Three Myths:
I am going to give you three things that you just absolutely got to do if you want next time to be better than the last time. Myth number one is that it’s called the experience myth. Experience does not make you wiser, it makes you older! It makes you tired, it makes you poorer, it makes you lonelier, but experience alone does not make you wiser. You’ve watched friends make the same mistakes over and over and over, they never learned anything from the past, so experience doesn’t guarantee anything except that you’ve just possibly wasted some time. But evaluated experience can be a game-changer. Evaluated experience sets you up for success.
The other myth is called the “know better” myth. Since I know better I’ll do better now. There is an assumption we have, that we know the difference between right and wrong now and then we’ll automatically do better. But know better does not equal do better, right? Here’s why this is important when you think about starting over, you can think I’m wiser now that I know from this experience. In many cases, knowing better doesn’t equal the ability, or the power, or the self-control to do better. So simply knowing better doesn’t mean you’re going to do any better next time around unless you evaluate your experience and unless you make some personal changes. This is why for many of you, your last bad relationship reflects your current bad relationship. You keep thinking what’s wrong with all these people I’m dating? You have to ask yourself the question, now that I know better what must I do before next time to ensure I actually do better.
The third myth is the time myth and this is the toughest one. The clock is ticking, I’m not getting any younger, all the other people my age, all my friends, so we think the clock is ticking and I need to get on with it. Times a wasting, I’ve learned my lesson, I know better, I’ve had a bad experience, I’m ready to jump back in, I’m ready to restart, I’ve learned my lesson and I’ll never go there again. I got to get with it because the clock is ticking, time is my enemy and that is absolutely false! In fact, of all the myths this is the most destructive one. Time is your friend and this is true of just about every kind of transition. When you’ve gone through something difficult, either because of a decision you made or a decision someone made about you, the truth is, you’re a little bit out of balance. Before you make another big life decision you need to find balance. Emotions are like a temperature, they go up and they come down. You’re carrying a little anger, you’re carrying a little bit of resentment, you’re carrying a bit of jealousy, you’re carrying stuff you don’t know about so consequently you’re a little bit off balance. When you are in pain emotionally you become very self-absorbed. It’s not your fault, it’s the nature of pain. Some friends going through some tough times end up talking about their tough thing every time you have a conversation with them. That’s part of the healing process, but self-absorbed people make self-absorbed decisions. So consequently, jumping into whatever’s next before you’ve allowed the temperature to come down is a dangerous thing. When you have clarity, you make better decisions and until you have clarity you have no business making decisions. There are things that you need to hear before you move on to whatever’s next. The reason people rush is because they are convinced personally that their situation is different. Your circumstances and challenges may be unique, but you’re not.
At 20:50, Andy concludes this message:
What I want for you because many of you are going to have to start over with something and you might as well get it right. You might as well allow God to redeem (which means add value to your past) instead of you looking back and thinking what a complete waste of time. In round one of everything it’s just really about us. Then we discover life’s not perfect, there are no perfect marriages and there are no perfect kids or perfect families and life is just messy. If you will allow God to do something between round one and round two before you start over, you will move into the next phase or season of your life with a sense of destiny, there’s a sense of divine destiny that God’s up to something and there’s a sense of humility. I’m going to work hard, I’m going to set goals, I’m going to do my best, but I’m doing this under the canopy that God is up to something and I’m giving God all the credit. I don’t feel like everything hinges on me anymore, I already did that once. The next time can be better than the last time. God’s grace is as big as anything that’s happened to you or anything that you’ve done. God can work and use all things in the future and potentially benefit you and benefit someone else. In all things God works for the good of those who love him. God can leverage purpose out of anything if you invite him, but if you rush, there will be nothing good that comes from it until you’re finally willing to submit and to surrender to the Heavenly Father who loves you.