The Missed Opportunities of Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve

I’m going to screw this all up.  It should’ve been a better article had I not waited until midnight to write it.  I could’ve been in bed cuddling my two girls had I not wasted time earlier.  I would’ve been sleeping by now if I had made different choices.  We all do it, all day long.  The could have, should have and would have moments of life are all too prevalent in the back of our mind.  I could have been better.  I would have done more.  I should have accomplished more.

Missing cuddle time with my girls is tragic; it’s moments that I will never get back.  Feeling my little one’s fingers stroke my hair as she falls asleep is priceless.  It is a snapshot of time that will never happen again.  When you miss it, you miss it for good.

The same is true for missed ministry opportunities.  I could’ve had my quiet time today if I hadn’t slept in.  I should’ve talked to that person about Christ, but I was scared.  I would’ve volunteered, but no one asked.  When you miss these opportunities, you miss out on the best God has for you in that moment.

God is ever present (Psalm 46:1), always loving, freely giving of grace, hope, love, mercy and joy.  All you need to do is follow Him.  Follow him freely, openly and completely.  Say “yes” to every moment of every day.  Search for opportunities to serve Him.  Talk to the stranger you encounter about Christ.  Serve and give freely of your time and talents.  Seek and ye shall find.

Should’ve, could’ve and would’ve moments in your walk with Christ have eternal consequences.  Today is the day to seize the moment.  Today is the day to walk blindly in faith.  Today is the day to say “I am all yours God.”  Don’t miss the opportunities in Christ, you can never get these moments back.

Romans 12:11 – Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

John12:26 – Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

1 Corinthians 13:13 – So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

The Rule of 7’s

One day, a friend gave me some of the best advice I’ve received and, quite possibly, the best advice I’ve ever passed along to others.  Life is messy.  It’s chaotic, it’s frustrating and sometimes infuriating.  People act senselessly and recklessly creating ripple effects that tear through hearts and lives.  Some days there seems to be no end to the nightmare.  That’s when the rule of 7’s comes into play.  How will this moment look and feel in 7 days, 7 months and 7 years from now.

Wow.  Talk about perspective changer and attitude changer.  I found that my daughter’s meltdowns while frustrating in the moment, won’t be our reality in 7 years.  The frustrating situations at work won’t even be memories in 7 months.  And the battle over healthy food vs. peanut butter and jelly (or even just jelly straight up) won’t be an issue in 7 days.  The messiness of today won’t matter in the future.  Will it shape it, sure.  Will it define it, not unless you let it.

Today you can choose how you will respond.  Do you continue the messy, ugly ripple effects created by other people’s poor choices, or do you stop and consciously choose to not let this small moment define your future reality?  I choose love for others, grace for others, mercy for others and joy, joy for myself.

God is ever constant.  Never changing.  Always good, even in what feels bad and messy.  The one and only choice you will ever make that will absolutely make a difference in 7 days, 7 months and 7 years, is the decision for salvation.  If you are tired of riding the emotional roller coaster of inconsistency then choose Christ today.  He is right there with you, just waiting for you to take his hand.  Expect joy today.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!

Romans 12:12 – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

1 Peter 1:8-9 – Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

2 Corinthians 12:10 – That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Tired and Over It

Where does one even begin?  Life is so messy.  There are some phases where you feel invincible and that you can weather any storm.  Then there’s other times in life where you feel completely knocked off your feet, unable to breathe and that there’s no way you’ll ever be able to see straight again much less return to life as normal.  Life has a way of breaking you in the most unbreakable ways.  Sometimes you’re just tired and over it.

I’ve had some incredible waves of messy life in my life but some of my friends and loved ones have had way worse.  The horrors of what people walk through in life: the loss of a child, battle with cancer, abuse, addiction, homelessness, domestic violence, and on and on, makes my life look pretty peachy in comparison.  When you love others through the messiness of their life it makes you more thankful for your own messiness.

Sometimes (not always) the greatest cure to pulling us out of the throws of despair from our life circumstances is to get some perspective based on the experience of someone else.  How transparent are you being about your messiness in life?  Are you being genuine when people ask “how you are doing” or do you always answer a general “I’m okay”?  What happens if you’re not okay that day?  It’s sad that as a society we don’t feel that we can be vulnerable with each other to lean on each other in times of need and grow from each other through times of hardship.

Be the catalyst to change.  The next time someone asks “how are you doing today” on a day where you aren’t doing well, tell them the truth.  Tell them “I’m tired and over it.”  You’ll see their walls and defenses come tumbling down.  Maybe they needed to hear about someone else’s messiness of life to put theirs in perspective.  Maybe God will use your words and transparency to cause change and growth in their life.  Who knows how God would use it.  But what harm can it do?

So if you want to ask me, I’d tell you I started my day as a mess, tired and over it.  I ended my day feeling incredibly blessed and highly favored by God.  Not because my day got better as it went, but because God put people in my day to strategically show me that my messiness is a gift, not a burden.  He is showing us that he loves us through our brokenness, through our bad choices and through the broken world we live in.  He is bigger than all this mess, and we should rejoice in that.

Be a blessing to others today.  Be transparent.  Let God use you.  You are blessed and highly favored by God, even in your messiness.

Luke 6:38 – Give and it will be given to you.  They will pour into your tap a good measure-pressed down, shaken together, and running over.  For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

Philippians 4:19 – And my God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus

1 Peter 5:7 – casting all of your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Isaiah 41:10 – Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

 

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