I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have it together. My thoughts lead me down some hard paths, I speak too quickly at times, I’ve emotionally shafted my family in the past and working to regain their love and friendship in recent years. I’ve had to forgive a lot of people and apologize for moments when I didn’t make the right choice. I’ve been silent when it was time to speak for injustice and passed the person needing just a glimpse of the love God has graciously given me. Geez, I’m messy.
I recently heard from a friend who has done an incredible job becoming a foster parent with her husband and adopted children. She mentioned how they spend a lot of time cheering for their kids when they succeed – celebrating and honoring right choices. When then have a bit of a harder time, they speak to them in the moment and say calmly, “go ahead and try that again.” What really got me thinking even more about it was their method to raise up their children with a “try it again” method versus “you messed up and you lose this or that” or isolating them, scolding them.. etc..
I really like the way they are setting up their kids to win. It’s not behavior modification they’re aiming for, it’s a character building process. In a matter of years, or even sooner, their children won’t be afraid of conflict or failure. They won’t run away from what is hard or hurts, but try again and make a better choice than their last.
God is a lot like this when it comes to us. At least, this is what I’ve seen in scripture and in my daily life.
When it comes to the right decision, we experience his cheering — well done! We know it and see it in everything. Our lives begin to flourish, favor is directed in our path, and through hard work we sow, we begin to reap hundred fold. That is all God wants; to live near us and for us to choose him because he already chose and loves us.
When it comes to the hard stuff; the temptations, the weaknesses, the hurt we experience and anger, or our negative mindset we can run ourselves to the ground. It’s easy to just put a garment of shame on, because “other believers don’t think like this, act like this, say this…” — yeah right.
“Try again” whispers the voice of our Father. “Try again” he says with a little more enthusiasm. Not because he is shaming us, but because he is GRACING us. His righteousness is ours and it means we can TRY again and choose the better way.
Maybe right now you’re battling something. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s the enemy trying to wage war. Here’s what I want to remind us all of:
“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” — 1 John 4:17-18
Trying again is just a sign of taking hold of this perfect love and taking residence in it. If it’s your thought process, try again and declare God’s word instead. If it’s unforgiveness, try again and work toward healing. If it is doubting a God-given promise, try again. If you were silent toward the things that God cares deeply about, try again.
Trying again isn’t shame. To try again is to develop a mature faith. We’re all on this path and let’s just make a decision to not give up. His perfect love will go with us.