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January 27, 2022

The Gift of Do-overs

Hi.  My name is Mike Self.

And I’m a Dallas Cowboys football fan.

The playoffs have been particularly unkind to the Cowboys for the last few decades.

Last week’s Wild Card game against the 49ers was difficult to watch.  The Cowboys played poorly and racked up 14 penalties for 89 yards.

It was an ugly game, but there was one moment of levity.  But even more than levity, it was a timeout from the building frustration I was feeling over a game slipping away from my team.

The Cowboys were forced to punt midway through the third quarter.  Punter Bryan Anger kicked the ball so high that it hit the giant scoreboard that hangs over the center of the field.  The refs ruled it a dead ball and a re-kick.

In other words, it was a do-over.

How often does that happen in professional sports?  No penalty.  No loss of yards.  No loss of down.  No time off the clock.  It felt like a gift.

Kids understand the importance of a do-over.  I experienced it frequently with my friends during our front-yard football games.  When the quarterback accidentally threw the ball on the roof of his house, both teams, in unison, would shout “Do-over!”  When a car pulled into the driveway, interfering with a play, “Do-over!” shouts could be heard echoing through the neighborhood.  It was the quickest and easiest way to dispel arguments and keep playing.

A do-over is a gift.

As January comes to an end, do you wish you would have started 2022 differently?  Have you already given up on your New Year’s resolutions?  Are you carrying baggage, pain, or regret from 2021 into 2022?

If so, it’s time to call timeout and embrace the do-over.  Extend grace to yourself.  Lay your burdens at the Lord’s feet.  Ask for direction, wisdom, hope and discipline.  If necessary, ask for forgiveness.  Stop beating yourself up.  Receive the Lord’s grace and mercy.  Make amends where necessary.  Start moving forward.

Our God is not the God of second chances.  Or even of third or fourth chances.  He’s the gracious God that grants us an infinite number of new beginnings.

You might not be able to erase the past, but you can make today a fresh start.

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