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Course Correcting

We all make mistakes. I think that’s an obvious truth – and something that most certainly applies to the person writing this column.

And the important thing, I guess, is that we recognize our mistakes, fess up to them, do our best to correct them, maybe learn something from them, and then move the heck on with our lives.

Of course, that’s all much easier said than done – particularly if you’re still in the early stages of the process I just described. It’s hard to learn from a mistake if you’re still smack dab in the middle of making it – or if you’ve just made it, realized it, and are scrambling to figure out what you need to do about it.

And not all mistakes are created equal. Some mistakes are relatively easy fixes, but, in other cases, fixing a mistake can take some doing and some thinking and some praying and some time. And there’s almost always a price to be paid. Mistakes usually come with consequences.

Among the hardest mistakes to correct are what I would describe as directional errors. I’m talking about major wrong turns when it comes to the overall direction your life is going – which can involve your career choices or educational options or personal relationships or lifestyle choices or where you choose to live or what you choose to believe (or some combination thereof).

Often the hardest part is just admitting to yourself that you’re going the wrong way. And as I’ve found in my own life, that usually has a lot to do with getting past my own pride and hard-headedness and my own tendency to worry way too much about what other people think.

And the further you go down a wrong road, the harder it is to get turned around. You get stuck in the flow of traffic, and, after a while, you stop looking for offramps, resign yourself to your current direction of travel, and try to convince yourself that this is the only road available to you.

But I don’t believe that’s true. And I don’t think any of us are hopelessly locked into anything. It is possible to change the direction of our lives, though that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy – and it doesn’t mean that the first turn we make will necessarily be the right one. Life is rarely that simple.

And making a course correction may require some assistance from family and friends. There’s no shame in that. And there’s certainly no shame in seeking God’s help. I suspect He is more than willing to lend a little guidance and wisdom and maybe even a little divine intervention. And I believe He very much wants to be involved in the choices we make, both big and small.

But any way you slice it, changing course comes down to making a decision and then acting on that decision. Sooner or later, you have to pick an exit and hit your turn signal. 

As to what comes after that, only God knows for certain.

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