“And bad mistakes….I’ve made a few….”
Yeah, I love a good golden oldie. The 1977 classic, “We are the Champions” is one of my favorites. Who among us hasn’t at some point in their lives belted out this anthem at the top of their lungs proclaiming:
We are the champions, we are the champions,
No time for losing for
We are the champions of the world!
Of course, most of us who are mature enough to recognize that song also know that along every road to becoming a Champion comes the line, “And bad mistakes….I’ve made a few….”
I doubt there are any of us who can’t say this about some time in our lives. Recently, during my time of prayer, I was talking to God about a few decisions that had become regrets.
I wished I’d made different choices.
I wished I’d have known information that I found out later before I made a decision.
I even wished there was a time capsule that could transport me back in time and help me see the giant “Wrong Way” sign warning me to take another route.
Of course, none of these things were possible. All that was left to do was admit I’d made a mistake, and go forward from here without repeating the same mistakes again.
As I sought the heart of God in prayer, I began repenting less about the actual choice I made and more about the two things I didn’t do which I believe would have kept me from making a mistake.
#1 I didn't spend enough time in prayer before making my decision.
#2 I didn’t take time to seek the advice of others who could have given valuable wisdom.
These were the two critical errors that changed the trajectory of my journey. They are the two bad mistakes that I do not want to repeat again.
Mistake #1: Looking back, I can see that I didn’t really give the issue the amount of prayer time it deserved.
Instead, I said a quick prayer and then moved forward with my plan rather than taking the time to linger before God and wait for His direction. Perhaps you’ve done the same thing.
You get an idea, feel a need, or experience a crisis. Even though you may shoot up a quick “God, what do I do?”, you don’t really take the time to talk to God about the situation much less spend time waiting before Him to give you an answer.
Instead, you jump into action.
You act or react, go into problem solving mode, or start creating your own plan. Before long, you’re a mile down the road waving to God asking Him, “Why aren’t you keeping up or coming along?”
Then when we run into troubles or turbulence we ask, “God, why aren’t you helping me? After all, I’m following You??!!”
Yeah, we’ve all been there and done that. Still, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a bad mistake. And in my particular situation, I had to repent and ask God to forgive me.
Going forward I’m making the conscious decision to avoid this error again. Instead, I’m teaching myself to stop…pray…listen…and wait for an answer, trusting that God knows my need and He will provide the right answer in the right time.
Mistake #2: I didn’t take time to seek the advice of others.
Proverbs says that wisdom is found in many advisors.
Proverbs was right!
Proverbs 12:15, “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.”
Proverbs 13:10, “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”
One of the best things any of us can do when we are presented with a problem, decision, or opportunity is seek the advice of wise people with experience. Of course, this takes time. We have to wait for them to return our phone calls or emails. Sometimes they may even want time to pray about it before giving an answer (Can you believe it?) Then there’s always the possibility that they may see things in a completely different light and give a perspective that is different from the road you’ve already decided you’re going to take. (EEEKK!!!)
Maybe these are some of the reasons we don’t make the call or send the email asking for advice. Still, I’ll tell you one thing that I know without a doubt---if there was a time capsule that could transport me back in time, I’d have made the call, sent the email, and waited as long as it took to get some advice.
Why? Because the advice of others would have helped me make a different decision. (A decision that wouldn’t have me wishing I could go back in time and do things over.)
If I’d have taken the time to ask advice BEFORE I made my choices, I’d have spent less time solving problems, cleaning up a mess, and been further along on the road of actually doing what God wanted me to do in the first place. Rather than my advisors slowing me down, in the end they would have saved me the time, stress, and heartache that I spent overcoming my error in judgment and dealing with the consequences of a bad mistake.
These are two lessons that all of us need to learn on the road to godly leadership. Whether you’re leading a family, a business, a ministry, a small group or a large one, we need to remember that the best way to avoid bad mistakes is to:
#1. Pray and seek the will of God before we act.
#2. Seek and listen to godly, wise advisors before we make a decision.
As we rely less on our own devices and thinking, we will find that we make less bad mistakes. As the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts and the hearts of our advisors, we’ll make better decisions, wiser choices, and be further along our journey to serve the true Champion of the World!!!