Friday, November 14, 2008

"I Screwed Up. What Do I Do Now?"

Have you ever said this?

Yeah, I thought so. Me, too.

All of us have, in one way or another.

So, what do you do about it? Blow it off? Walk away? Pretend nothing is wrong?

What if the screwup has BIG consequences, something you can't just walk away from? What do you do then?

In my own life, I've tried to duck the consequences by various methods. I've covered it up, lied about it or scurried to fix it before consequences came to light (one of the better of the bad ways, but still a bad way of dealing with it).

What is the best way of dealing with a screwup?

Face it. Admit it. Fix it. Apologise for it. Don't repeat it.

What if this is just the latest in a long line of screwups and apologising doesn't work any more? Now you have to do the hardest part of dealing with the last of a string of screwups:


I'm not talking about just the particular little thing that caused the problem, though certainly that needs to be done.

I'm talking about looking at the whole fabric of your life. It may be a small, little item in your life; a tiny idea that has gotten hold of your soul. A tiny thesis statement of a philosophy, no matter that it sounds trivial, that you (or I) have based our existence around.

These tiny ideas are powerful.

My folks tried to make me into an optimist, imbue me with the "Can Do" spirit. I preferred to be a pessimist. My thesis statement: "If I'm pessimistic about something, I'm pleasantly surprised when I'm wrong."

I was pleasantly surprised now and again. Looking back, though, it wasn't enough. If you look hard enough for the hole you'll find it, and completely miss the doughnut.

But being a pessimist requires little effort. That was the unspoken, little, idea that held sway over my thinking. As a consequence (there's that word again), I put forth minimal effort to take care of my immediate needs, and not much else.

The odd thing about pessimism, is that it tends to have a hidden bit of blind optimism: things will work out somehow. Or if they don't they weren't meant to anyway. One more rock on the Pessimism Pile.

One thing more: it backs up another thesis statement: God Hates Me. Maybe you've said or thought that yourself. Maybe you are even blaming God for the mess of your screwup? Me, too. I didn't always think that way, but a string of big trials came my way. Instead of trusting that He would get me through it, I blamed Him for the problems in the first place.

That's okay, though. God has big shoulders. He can take it.

But you have to realize something: God DOESN'T hate you. In fact, God loves you, and he has a plan for you. He even has a reason for all the hard rocks in the road. You may never know the reason, but it's there. Even if the only reasons are to toughen you up, or encourage you to trust in Him.

That's a hard lesson to learn. And a freeing one. Then the "It'll all work out," notion actually makes sense.

At this point I can tell you, I've screwed up. I'm trying to learn from my misteaks, er, mistakes. I'm trying to fix it.

It's hard to try to fix your life when you've lived more than half of it. But if I'm not done by the time I die, I'm going to make sure that it won't be for lack of trying. Yes, I can.

So can you.

Yes, You Can.

No comments: