What Did I Do?
From Proverbs 23
A few days ago, driving home from vacation Bible school with my daughter, I did something a little unlike me, a little impulsive. I turned down the road toward the animal shelter. I knew what I was doing—I’m going to get another dog. I had thought about that for weeks. But why the shelter? Would they have the right dog? Yet something in me said to go anyway. Not forty-eight hours later, we welcomed Ridley, a three-year-old terrier mix, into our home.
He’s beautiful, loving, incredibly playful, and within just a few hours, already loyal. He follows me everywhere and covers me with kisses. But let me confess—yesterday, after he and Bella got into a small squabble over a ball, I started questioning my decision. I felt overwhelming buyer’s remorse. What did I do?
The truth is, I feel this way often.
I felt this way after I bought my car. I needed a car. My other one—the dream car I’d finally been able to buy, a white mini cooper—was giving me fits within just a few months. To keep my mini, I’d nearly have to buy it all over again to cover the cost of repairs, so the smart thing was to trade it in for something reliable. But still, a large car loan later, I questioned myself. Did I make the right decision? Did I buy the right car?
Even choosing a shirt at Ross can be taxing, and don’t get me started on carpet samples. (This sand color or that one?—that decision took weeks). I’ve gotten better—who knew “therapy” could be going to a store and practicing the simple task of choosing what you like? But when you doubt yourself often enough, this might be just the therapy you need.
You have to learn to make decisions based not on what other people expect or like or tell you that you should do.
You have to practice making decisions from your center, from the place in you shaped by God and no one else.
And, hardest of all, you have to accept you will do so imperfectly. Your decisions will not be “right” every time.
After reading Proverbs this morning, a comforting thought came to mind: wisdom is proactive, yes. It comes from proper planning, from weighing consequences, from thinking things through before you decide (see 24:27). But wisdom is also retroactive. In other words, let’s say the decision you made wasn’t 100 percent right (because, is it ever?). Let’s say the decision came from a place of limited knowledge, or a little impulsiveness got mixed in, or someone pressured you a bit, or you pressured yourself. Does the Lord abandon you then? Hear His promise:
“Continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:17-18 ESV)
Even then, once the car is bought, the contract is signed, the dog is sleeping quietly on your sofa, keep pursuing the Lord and His wisdom. They will keep working for you—shaping your present, redeeming any mistakes of your past, and guaranteeing a brighter, better, hope-filled future.
Next week‘s reading: Proverbs 29–Ecclesiastes 2:1-11.