Look Before You Leap – Leap When It's Wrong Just to Look
By Ed Delph
August 17, 2020
Let’s start with a great thought on something we all can relate to. Here it is.
"The primary purpose of your pinky toe is to periodically check if your furniture is still hard."
Some of you are groaning right now. You're remembering when your toe confirmed your furniture is still hard. Am I right about that?
I discovered a quote that resonated strongly with my followers on Facebook where they tested out their toe’s ability to withstand pain in everyday life situations. 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 issues are all saying the same thing. If you don’t want to go through a toe jam, a ‘furniture meets toe’ experience, 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. Be mindful that what we do and what we say has consequences, whether good, not so good, or plain awful.
We relate to this quote because we have been there, right? How many times have I tried to chase and catch the words that came out of my mouth? I spoke in haste, and then in my mind, I said to myself, "Oh no, I can't believe I said something that stupid, that insensitive, or that hurtful. I didn't communicate what I meant to say. That will be misunderstood. When I try, in my mind, to chase down and catch those words, it's like I'm running in slow motion, but I never can catch-up with those words. I get right up to the point where I can grab them before they reach the person and then 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 on virtual paper now. There's visible evidence of what we said. The more you try and delete your words on your side, the more the receiver will hit repeat.
Then there are actions to consider. How often have I counseled someone who 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 who wish they could have one business decision back, one relationship ended, or one strategic life choice made or not made? How many people do I know that missed an opportunity or an occasion 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 resemble that.
I like the country-western song about a guy who got into all kinds of trouble on a date because of "stinkin' thinkin'". It's appropriately called, "What was I thinking?" If I were 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 are a few ways to minimize roadkill and do some damage control. This advice, if applied, will significantly reduce our emotional clutter. Emotional clutter comes from decisions made or missed in the 'woulda, shoulda, couldas' of our lives.
Firstly, 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 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 make good decisions today and not do something stupid today because, if given a chance, I will do something stupid."
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com