I ordered our new business cards for Celebrate Recovery and Ministry House last night. I spent HOURS pouring over them, trying to get them perfect. I ordered one set with our names on them, and another set without our names for CR members to use for inviting others. I was meticulous.
I put the first order in with our names, and then started working on the other cards when suddenly I realized I HAD THE WRONG PHONE NUMBER ON THERE. Yes, yes – I had mistyped 1 little digit. They read 458 instead of 459. I was able to correct the cards without our names, but I was frantic about cancelling or editing the other order.
So I looked to see how to cancel or edit the order, and realized that I had clicked an authorization stating that I understood that I could not cancel or edit anything once it is submitted. I thought surely there must be an exception, but no, there are NO exceptions to this rule. So I will have to change the number 8 to 9 on the front AND back of 250 cards, and the cards will look that much less professional. I hate that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach when I do something like this.
Well, several things hit me.
- When we make a mistake, we can’t change it. It is there and will remain in the past and become a part of history. No matter how much we wish and try and cry, we cannot change that. We just have to accept the fact that it exists, and just move on. This is part of the “things we cannot change” portion of the Serenity Prayer.
- Perspective affects our emotions and our actions. The cards, including shipping, cost a whopping $26. This is a decent chunk of money, but will not get us thrown out into the streets. I had to step back and put this into perspective. Worse comes to worse, I’m out $26 (and I’ve thrown out good money on other things much worse than that). I can write on the cards, and although they will not look as professional, it really doesn’t matter. So it is not a total loss, just an aggravating loss. I don’t have to stay sick to my stomach about it, but can let it go. Realizing these things let me breathe again.
- Things don’t always have to go exactly as I planned for a situation to work out. A handwritten number 9 will not ruin everything. The only important thing is that people can communicate with us. A perfect (but wrong) card is ineffective and useless, so I sacrifice perfection for simply making things work practically – and that is acceptable. What I have to offer is ENOUGH to get the job done.
- God is NOTHING like Vistaprint. I may not be able to ring up Vistaprint and ask them to make sure that the finished product will be right in spite of my errors, but I can always ask God to take whatever mess I might have made of things and use them for His glory and my good. He has promised to make THIS finished product (me) completely “right” for communicating His Word, love, will and plan by promising that He will complete the work that He has begun in me, until all of my thoughts and actions reflect Jesus.
So if you are sick to your stomach about some screw up or failure from your historic or recent past, you don’t have to continue to wallow in the mire of icky feelings and thoughts of “what’s the use?” Bring those transgressions, those sins, to your Higher Power (Jesus), and ask Him to correct in you the things that cause you to act that way. Ask Him to “recalculate” your life so that you still end up where He originally intended you to be (His plan for your life).
Unlike VistaPrint, He CAN fix our cards (the outcome after our actions), regardless of what we have done. It doesn’t mean there won’t be earthly consequences, but if you are willing to go through the Lord’s discipline, you will be healthier and more Christ-like on the other side when you are done. And you’ll ask your Sponsor to “proof read” your life to make sure everything is looking as it should.
Penny Haynes, Celebrate Recovery and Ministry House