To reach our full potential, we must face and take risks wisely and make good decisions. Sometimes, we don't get this right. Somewhere along the way, we may mess up, take a foolish risk, or make a stupid decision. Time and time again, you may find yourself in a place where you shake your head, saying, "What was I thinking?"
Had you not made a mistake in the first place, you may be free from the inevitable heartache. If others know what happened, you may feel scrutinized or unlovable. You may be asking yourself if it's possible to recover from this decision or foolish risk.
So how should we respond when this happens to us? Here are two steps to take to bounce back from a bad decision
1. Admit It
The truth is that we all mess up. Chances are, others know that you messed up, so own it! Bring it to God and tell him how you messed up. He already knows what's happening, but your confession should be clear and specific.
Jesus said in Matthew 9:12-13, “Healthy people don't need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
“Repent" may sound like an intense word, but there is so much good behind it. Repentance is changing directions and doing things the right way. You must change your ways to ensure you won't make the same mistake again. Proverbs 26:11 paints a graphic picture of how it’s in our nature to repeat mistakes: "As a dog returns to its own vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.”
Confessing and asking for forgiveness has no meaning if you choose to repeat your mistakes. Bouncing back from a bad decision requires changing your habits and may mean reconsidering who you choose to spend time with.
Proverbs 13:20 says, "Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get into trouble."
When we operate in hiding or associate closely with those that make poor choices, we set ourselves up to harm others or our reputations. Avoid bad decisions by knowing your weaknesses, creating transparency with your activities, and choosing to hang out with wise people.
Making good decisions and taking wise risks will help you reach your full potential. God calls us to do that while being aware of our weaknesses and walking with the wise. It's possible to bounce back from a bad decision because God loves you even when you feel like you messed up-he is ready with open arms when you don't get it quite right.
Jesus made an exchange with us when he sacrificed his perfection for our sins. He took the weight of our sins and proved his love for us on the cross. This exchange is free to everyone, no matter the decisions made.
1 Peter 2:24: "He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross… so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds, you are healed."
To go even deeper on the content behind this article, check out the book, What Was I Thinking by David Ashcraft and Rob Skacel.
If you're interested in other articles about decisions or risk, check out:
- The Biblical Guide to Making Good Decisions
- Why Avoiding Risk Could Cost You
- 2 Tips to Ensure You Make Good Decisions
- 3 Ways to Find Clarity from God