Recovering Gracefully: Conclusion

We make plans, dream dreams, and want to be morally beautiful. But our plans get changed, dreams get shattered, and we fall short of our ideals. When this happens we should not give up on making plans, dreaming dreams and striving to be a morally beautiful person. We who believe in the God of grace can’t be cynics, nor protect our heart in a foolproof safe from pain. Instead, we need to learn how to recover gracefully.

In previous articles I shared how my daughter Jackie and I had hoped to travel from San Diego to Seattle on a three week painting trip. Covid-19 altered our plans. I canceled my sabbatical. We canceled the trip. But we didn’t cancel hope…we still wanted to do something special together. Years ago, as a young man, I had taken my siblings and younger cousins on a hike around the south end of Camano. I asked Jackie if she would consider hiking all 52 miles of beaches in four days, and invite family and friends to join us. She said sure. And we did. On Saturday, June 27 we set out with a group of fourteen. Others joined us along the way. Here is the story of the epic, 52 mile hike around Camano Island.

It turned out real great, more than I could have hoped and dreamed of. Along the way I did a short interview of Jackie about what it means to recover gracefully. Here’s what she said.

Recovering gracefully is a gospel skill that you can learn to practice when your plans go awry, your dreams are dashed and your sinful, broken heart is exposed. Here are three steps, really just doing one thing three times.

  1. Remind yourself that even though your plans got messed up, your dream is dead, your flaws got exposed, God your Heavenly Father loves you. He is sovereign. He is in control. He has a good plan for your life.
  2. Preach the gospel to yourself. Take yourself by the hand and say, “Self, don’t spiral down into despair. God has not abandoned you. He cares for you. He has a plan for your life, and good works for you to walk in. He is transforming you into the beauty of Christ. Get back up. Move forward!”
  3. And make a new plan, adapt. If God has closed one door, trust that He is opening another. When God says a little “no,” never forget that he has already said a MIGHTY YES to you, all of his promises are YES to you in Jesus.

When Jackie and my plan got dashed by Covid-19. We didn’t quit or complain. We recovered gracefully. We reminded ourselves of the truth. We preached the gospel to ourselves. And we made a new plan. You can recover gracefully too!

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