I recently discovered a quote that resonated strongly with my followers on Facebook. It’s a quote by Deanna Wadsworth. “There are four things you can’t recover: 1. The stone after the throw. 2. The word after it’s said. 3. The occasion after it’s missed. 4. The time after it’s gone.”
These four concepts are all saying the same thing about different issues. Look before you leap. Think before you emote. Act before you react. Plan before you build. Watch your thoughts because your thoughts become words and words become actions. Don’t just watch time, watch your timing. What we do and say has consequences, both good, not so good, and some real, real bad.
We relate to this quote because we have been there, right? How many times have I tried to chase and catch words that came out of my mouth? I spoke in haste and then in my mind I was something like, “Oh no, I can’t believe I said something that stupid, that hurtful or something that could be misinterpreted.” When I try, in my mind, to chase down and catch those words, it’s was like running in slow motion but I can never catch those words. I get right up to the point where I can grab them before they reach the person and then I trip. My out of body experience now was caused by my ‘out of mind’ experience earlier. Sound familiar?
Email is even worse. Why? Our words are written on paper. There’s visible evidence of what he said. The more you try and delete on your side, the more the other side will hit repeat.
Then there are actions to consider. How many times have I counseled someone that wishes they could have one night back in their lives where they made an enormous mistake based on immediate gratification or the heat of the moment? How many do you and I know that wish they could have one business decision back, one relationship ended or one life choice made or not made? How many people do I know that missed an opportunity or an occasion that was right in front of them and they couldn’t see it? Mark Twain noted that he had never seen an opportunity until it had ceased to be one. Why do we like that quote? We have been there.
I like the country western song that talks about a guy who got into all kinds of trouble on a date because of his thinking. It’s appropriately called, “What was I thinking?” If I has his counselor I would summarize his problem this way: “I think you’re not thinking with your thinker. I think you’re thinking with your winker, you stinker.” I used to teach that when I was a Singles Pastor.
The problem with being impulsive is that it’s impulsive. Likewise, the problem with being late is that it’s late. To know what and when requires uncommon sense because common sense is not too common these days.
You might be saying, “It’s too late, what do I do now?” Here’s a few ways to minimize road kill and do some damage control. This advice, if applied, will greatly reduce our emotional clutter. Emotional clutter comes from decisions made or missed in the ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’s’ of our lives.
First of all, forgive yourself. Then ask forgiveness of any offended party. When and where possible, make restitution. Try and make it right in a real and tangible way. That’s not so much for them but for you. Secondly, when initially tempted to attack or hide, don’t. Thirdly, understand that it is much easier to not get into the trap than try and get out of the trap once you are in it.
Jesus told us to pray for uncommon sense every day in the Lord’s Prayer. “Lead me not into temptation…” Do you know what that means in my language? “Lord, help me to make good decisions today and not do something stupid because, if given the chance, I will do something stupid.”
I hope this helps us to be more aware of the stumbling blocks of life. Sometimes we just need to be reminded…Look before you leap and to leap when it’s wrong to just look.
Church-Community Connection is published weekly in 10 newspapers all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 450 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing mental perceptions that the community has of the church.