When You Have to Start Over

Finding the Motivation to Begin Again

Few things are as discouraging as having to repeat what you’ve already worked so hard to accomplish. Starting over is hard. Sometimes it feels unbearable.

As one who has had to start over multiple times, I can tell you that in spite of the initial discouragement, it is often easier to begin again than it was to get started the first time. Why? Because you’ve done it once already.

You’ve gained valuable experience and learning opportunities. You are now wiser (hopefully) and prepared to avoid the pitfalls you fell into last time. Just like having babies and writing books, starting again the second time is easier because you know what you’re doing this time around.

I have had to start over so many times with my fitness and running. I’ve suffered a stress fracture, a knee injury, a lengthy and mysterious autoimmune-related illness, a car accident, and most recently, a hip surgery. Not to mention, each time I delivered another one of my babies, I had to start all over. Admittedly, I often failed to see the point and didn’t even bother to try and get back into shape in between babies. For a decade, I only knew one shape and it was pregnant.

Rise Up and Show Up

The godly may stumble seven times but they will rise again. Proverbs 24:17
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Sometimes the hardest thing of all is just to show up.  I experienced more days than I care to count where the most difficult part of my day was gathering the will power to just get out of bed and face the day before me.  “Rise and shine” was the last thing I wanted to do. No, I’d rather just stay in the dark with the pillow over my head, thank you very much.

To rise would be to awaken to the pain that felt unbearable.  However, a tribe of small people needed me to be involved in their daily life, so I rose.  I got up and got going. It didn’t matter so much that I was a wreck, that I couldn’t focus, that I cried more often than I did anything else, that I couldn’t remember details, or even decide what to cook for dinner when I stared at the open pantry full of food. 

I was there, the mess that I was. I showed up, and that alone was hard, but my presence made a difference to those around me, even when I felt I had nothing left to give.

Many times, I have done my best though it felt woefully inadequate with this prayer on my lips, “Lord, I have done what I could and now I have shown up. I desperately need you to show up or I’m sunk.” Amazingly, God always shows up in unexpected ways at exactly the right time.

Rise Again

The key to being successful (or even just surviving on the hard days) is not being so skilled that we never fall.  It’s learning to get up, dust off, and go again. Because we will fall.  Sometimes we fall hard. Sometimes we fall fast. But we show the power and the goodness of the God we serve when we refuse to stay down.

Sometimes the hardest part is learning to rise again after taking a tumble.  God’s Word tells us that though the godly may stumble and fall seven times, they will rise again. (Proverbs 24:16) 

Jesus is our resurrection and our life (John 11:25). We honor him when we refuse to stay down, dead and defeated but choose instead to rise again by his power and in his grace.

We show the power and the goodness of the God we serve when we refuse to stay down. #riseagain #notaquitter Click To Tweet

Recover From Failure

You will fall.  You can’t escape failure.  It is what you do next that makes the difference.  Don’t stay down! Get back up and rise again, and again, and again…  You may go down, but you’re not out unless you choose to quit.  The only way you fail is if you don’t get back up again.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
Philippians 3:12-14, The Message

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
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“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan

You must accept failure to recover from it.

Accept failure as a fact of life before it even happens. When it does inevitably happen, learn from it and keep pressing on toward your goal rather than quit. Failure is not defeat. Letting failure define you and stop you is defeat.

Success in any endeavor requires perseverance.  Living in faith is no different. We must not dwell on what is behind us, but rather strive for what God has laid out ahead of us.  We are called and equipped to press on to win the prize that is before us, but we have to put in the hard work to get there. 

“Failing and failure are not synonymous. Failing means you did not achieve what you were trying to achieve, whereas failure means giving up. Fail a lot, but never be a failure.”

Jason Towne
When you have to start over

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The key to living undefeated is not to avoid falling, but to get back up after you do fall.  Abraham Lincoln is one of the most loved and celebrated presidents of America.  His leadership held our country together at a very fragile and heartbreaking time.  Consider a few of his failures on this path to victory.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”

Abraham Lincoln
The only way you fail is if you don’t get back up again. #riseagain #nevergiveup Click To Tweet

Redesign Your Path – Try Again

Some failures mean we need to try again, go a different way, or test out a new hypothesis. Those are the easy start-overs.

When life punches us in the gut, trying again is not even possible. In cases of grief, loss, death of a loved one, major illness, injury, surgery, move, relationship or life change, new job/career, we have to find a whole new normal. But the one who makes all things new (Rev 21:5) is urging you to get up and keep going. Will you take his outstretched hand?

Starting over is never easy, especially when the road has already been long and fraught with obstacles, setbacks, and mistakes. The fatigue of working so hard and still coming up short makes quitting seem very inviting.

Consider a handful of fishermen who broke their backs all night long and still had nothing to show for it.

Simon said, “Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.” It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.
Luke 5:5-7, The Message

Simon was tired and discouraged.  He’d worked hard all night and had nothing to show for it.  Jesus asked him to try one more time.  Simon didn’t do it for himself or because he thought he would catch anything.  He simply obeyed. “But if you say so…” 

Is Jesus calling you to try once more? 

You may see only more failure, but He can see beyond your defeat to the victory He has prepared for you.

God can see beyond your defeat to the victory He has prepared for you. #victory #undefeated Click To Tweet
When you have to start over

Keep Trying Again and Again

Consider the failures of these famous people.  What if they had refused to try again. Where would we be if they had given up?  The world needs you to get back up and try again.

  • Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times and hit 714 home runs.
  • Walt Disney was fired from his newspaper job for “not being creative enough”.
  • Oprah Winfrey’s first boss claimed she was too emotional for TV.
  • Vincent Van Gogh only sold a single painting during his lifetime.
  • Albert Einstein was expelled from school for being too rebellious.
  • Steven Spielberg got rejected from the University of Southern California three times because of his poor grades.
The world needs you to get back up and try again. #perseverance #determination Click To Tweet

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

Thomas Edison

Remember this: The winner is not the one who never falls.
The champion is the one who gets back up one more time than the other guy.

What encouragement can you give to someone who has to start over?
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