How to Move Forward by Turning Around


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The other day on my way to an appointment, I completely missed the street I was supposed to turn on. I had been looking for it, but as I chatted with my passenger, I became distracted and drove right past my turn off.

A couple of miles down the road, an uneasiness rumbled in my stomach.

Could I have not seen the street?

I mentioned to my friend my confusion and the street I had been looking for. “Oh, it’s back there. Right after the bridge.”

No way.

How did I get so mixed up that I missed it?

Naturally, I turned around as soon as possible and went back to the place I made my mistake. Within minutes, I was heading the right direction, anxiety gone. From that point, my friend and I navigated to our destination.

The incident reminded me of repentance.

It’s a word most of us don’t like. We cringe and pull away from the idea of it maybe recalling a man yelling on a street corner about us going somewhere awful.

But the word actually means to turn back or turn around.

We can think of it as changing our mind. Not continuing to think the way we’ve been thinking.

Changing our direction.

Like in my story, a few things can get us headed in the wrong direction:

  • We may be easily distracted and get off track.
  • We may make a mistake in ignorance and miss the mark.
  • We may believe that our way is right or best even though we are wrong.

The good news is that God is faithful to help us discover our blunder by:

  • That uneasy feeling in our heart or mind – it alerts us to stop and check things.
  • Someone points out our mistake.
  • We end up stuck at a dead end or lost and confused.

When we see our dilemma, God offers help and relief not judgment. The quicker we are to acknowledge our mistake, and turn around, the sooner we will find peace. The correct road opens up, and we are moving forward in life again.

Here are some indications we are repentant people:

  • If we’re willing to say “I was wrong.”
  • If we’re willing to be corrected.
  • If we are horrified by what we have done – acknowledging the damage or potential hurt to God, ourselves and others who may be affected by our choice.
  • If we don’t get stuck in beating ourselves up. True repentance removes our sin and the guilt.
  • If we are willing to let go of our wrong conclusion and embrace truth in its place.
  • If we don’t presume that we’re simply misunderstood and can make others believe our misconception if we just keep telling them enough times.
  • If we are willing to accept consequences of our wrong choices.

God encourages us to make a U-turn.

He wants us to have a good journey and end up in good places. So much so that if we keep on the wrong path, he will allow the pressure of consequences to turn us away from something that will end up hurting us worse than the pain of the situation.

At one point in my life, I hated the idea of repentance.

Being wrong about anything brought shame, condemnation and meant awful things would happen to me so I determined at a young age that I simply couldn’t ever be wrong. Obviously that didn’t work out very well. All of us make mistakes for any number of reasons and denying that we do drags us into stuck dead-end roads in life. I confess it’s not always easy to change our mind and go a different way. But if we want to move forward in life, it’s a choice we must make.Fruitful-Repentance-500x500-B

This resource, Fruitful Repentance by Daniel Brown, is what helped change my thinking.

I guess that means it helped me repent.

 

WHAT I LEARNED FROM WORD


The week has been a challenging one

I’ve been through the proof of my book and found so many issues! Typos, formatting and some very bad writing. Naturally, I wanted to perfect as much as possible for my readers, and also for my Lord. I endeavor to work with all my heart for him, giving my very best to bring honor and glory. So I made numerous revisions and prepared to tackle the formatting issues.

I confess the learning curve for Word was pretty steep.DSC_0001

Many years ago, I worked as an editor for a Christian ministry, CTW, where I learned how to manipulate Word after taking many classes and notes. But, like anything we use little of, I had forgotten much of what I used to do. I labored and re-formatted and undid hundreds of actions. I checked out some tutorials on YouTube: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FzvtxK686c) and (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN0UzKTyaTA). After tweaking my pages again, I realized I knew just enough to get myself into trouble. I had remembered some information incorrectly and assumed other parts so that my work ended up a mess. After being reduced to tears a couple of times, I went back and followed the tutorials step by step, pausing them while I implemented the exact instructions. I found them very helpful, but they still didn’t address all of my particular issues. Finally, I found the help of this gentleman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK5-3KZ-c7k

My gratitude abounds!

At last, my work only needed one more issue addressed. This site helped: http://wordfaqs.mvps.org/bottomline.htm

If any of you are self-publishing a book, I highly recommend the previously mentioned resources. They fully cover the professional side of writing. But I learned a lot on a personal level as well.

Things are not always what they seem.

In Word, we don’t see the behind-the-scenes of what the program is doing. There are rabbit trails of tabs to open and boxes to click in order to get the finished product to look the way we want. The steps are fairly easy if followed in order and by simple instruction, but if we jump ahead (as I am prone to do) or try to fix something out of order, we end up complicating the situation.

As I worked, I realized that life is a lot like that.

Behind the scenes of our lives is an entire spiritual realm we don’t see. A battle ensues in the invisible, and only God knows the best way to navigate it and win. When I ignore the instructions, thinking I know the best way to handle something, I often end up frustrated and stuck. If I follow the Lord’s instructions to me, the way is simple without overwhelming obstacles.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy.

Sometimes, like Word, life is messy and needs fixing. But, I don’t have to panic when something isn’t exactly as it should be. There is room for change, and sometimes changes take a little processing and work. In the end, when the mess gets sorted, the answers and the fix aren’t as complicated as I feared, and the result is better than I expected.

This whole process reminded me of times I’ve cleaned out a closet or garage, or even when we cleaned out our overgrown jungle yard last weekend. The mess we made in the clearing out to organize seemed overwhelming and impossible, but as we worked methodically and with a steady plan, clean orderliness  revealed itself.

The good news?

My book is back on track. Anyone interested should be able to order it hopefully by next weekend.

The better news? I’ve learned so much this week. I guess once again the process was worth the pain. And isn’t that the best news there could be?

What have you learned during the writing process?