Would I Have Done Things Differently?

Yesterday, I posted about one of the ways that living a nomadic lifestyle has had an impact on my life. Today, I thought I’d ask the obvious follow on question; knowing what I know now, would I have done anything differently?

They say that hindsight is 20:20, but of course it isn’t. Even looking into the past, you don’t see everything that happened and you certainly can’t see what might have happened if you’d taken a different course. Not only that but the person I am today is different to the one that I was ten, twenty or thirty years ago. Trying to predict what might have happened in the past is as difficult (and perhaps as foolish) as trying to predict what might happen in the future.

That being said, I like to think that for the big decisions, joining Wycliffe, working amongst the Kouya, taking on the role of director in the UK; I’d do the same thing if I had my time over again (assuming that Sue would still be happy, with those decisions, too!). None of these decisions was easy and they all brought us into situations that were difficult and painful. However, we made those decisions trusting in God to guide us, and – over time – I believe that the rightness of each decision has manifested itself.

However…

I would hope that if I had to live my life again, I would do things very differently. While I believe that I’ve been in the right place, doing the right jobs, the way in which I’ve done those things hasn’t always been as it should. I’ve not been prayerful enough, I’ve not loved and cared for people (especially those closest to me) as I should have, I’ve been too self-centred and so the list goes on. In the end, it is these things which have an impact on the work that we achieve and on the way that others are helped and supported by us. While we concentrate on the big decisions; what career should I have? where should I live? etc. it is the thousands of tiny decisions that we make every day that really shape our lives.

In the end, the big decisions are not really that big and the small ones are enormous.

When we think about the work of mission partners (and anyone else for that matter), we tend to obsess about the “big” questions, but it is the day-to-day realities of a life worked out in Jesus’ presence that really counts.