If you had 2022 to live over again, would you do some things differently? Most, even if they are not prone to live with regrets, admit there are some things they would do differently. The reason is…. that we fail. We make mistakes. Sometimes you give life your best shot, but you still come short. You study for the test, and you still fail. You work hard in your job and still get laid off. And sometimes, you work hard on making a solid marriage, and it doesn’t progress; it’s going nowhere. The fact is you’re going to fail quite often in life. It does not matter if you fail — you and I will often fail because nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes. We’re going to have setbacks. We’re going to have problems.
So regardless of what happened in 2022, how does one get a fresh start?
The Bible says that God is very interested in your future. Isaiah 40:3 “The Lord says, `Forget about what has happened before. Do not think about the past. Instead, look at the new things I’m going to do.'” He says don’t think about the past. It’s over. That chapter is closed.
If you don’t get anything else I say, I want you to get this: God is far more interested in your future than He is in your past. Some of you think God is fixated on your past. He wants to remind you of the things you’ve done wrong. Well, you’re wrong! God isn’t interested in your past. He’s interested in your future. That’s where you’re going to spend the rest of your life. He says, “Forget about your past. Forget about the former things. Don’t think about it. Look at the new thing I’m going to do.”
I know everything can’t be boiled down to a simple formula, but we can learn from our and others' experiences. So I will share some things from my experience that I hope will help you, regardless of what kind of failure you’ve had in your past. You may have had a financial, a relational, or a failure in your marriage. You may have had a moral failure. You may have really blown it and made some decisions you’re so ashamed of and hope nobody ever finds out about. Regardless of the failure you’ve had in your life, here’s a thought for your consideration.
Stop making excuses and stop dwelling on what’s happened in your past…
If you want to start over, you have to stop focusing on your failures and making excuses for them. You’ve got to stop blaming other people and stop using rationalizations. You must quit seeing yourself as a victim.
Let me be clear on this: Other people can hurt you, without a doubt. Other people can harm you, without a doubt. But nobody can ruin your life except you. You have a choice, and that is you can choose how you’re going to respond to all those hurts. You don’t know what’s going to happen in this coming year. You have no idea. But you can choose how you will respond. The Bible says that the starting point is to be honest, and accept responsibility for your part in the problem.
Proverbs 28:13 “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.” He says the starting point to starting over is to be honest, and face up to our problems. Acknowledge that many of the problems in our lives are our fault. If we didn’t cause it, then maybe it was because we failed to respond correctly.
This may be petty hard for us to hear and receive because we like to pass the buck. We live in a society and a culture that loves to shift the blame. We could talk today (for several weeks) about what causes failure in people’s life. Let me state three of the most common reasons. I will leave these with you for your consideration and contemplation.
1. The number one reason we fail in life is we don’t plan ahead. We make decisions and don’t look at the possible consequences them. The Bible says (Proverbs 20:7), “A sensible man watches for problems and prepares to meet them, but the fool never looks ahead and suffers the consequences.”
2. Because we don’t listen to others. We don’t listen to good advice when it’s offered. The Bible says in Proverbs 15, “Plans fail without good advise.” You need to get all the excellent advice you can from well-experienced people who have your best interest in mind. Just who do you or will you listen to?
3. We give up too soon. These are the three most significant causes of failure. We give up too soon. Proverbs 24:10 “If you give up when troubles come, it just shows that you are weak.” Failure is the path of least persistence. The problem is that often during trying times, we stop trying. We give up.
Remember: Stop making excuses and stop dwelling on what’s happened in your past… Look to God… He has great plans for your life.