For those who remember Cher in the 80s, the tune to the song with this title is probably playing in your head. I’m an 80s child and proud of it. There is so much truth to the title of this song. If you and I could turn back time, we would probably do a lot of things differently. Some might view this as my public confession, but I want to use this to help others.
If I could turn back time, I would have…
Refused to be moulded by a Bible college or denomination and attempt to come out like everyone else. God designed me a certain way, but I denied that for many years in order to fit in with people who would criticize me anyway. My preaching style and way I ministered modeled others who tried to force ideology on me, and I exercised little grace. I would have started out being more approachable and authentic.
Received more godly counsel before I ever got married. I had never been in a relationship before my ex-wife, and I was clueless on everything. I would have missed out on some heartache potentially had I sought the right kind of counsel and known more about relationships and marriage.
Developed more skills before entering ministry. When I entered vocational church ministry, I had some musical and preaching ability. However, all my college degrees and jobs were church-related until a few years ago. When I went through my separation and divorce, I resigned the pastorate to find great difficulty in entering the world outside of church. The few who would interview me said, “Your resume says, ‘church, church, church’.” God stepped in and gave me the position I have today as a hospice chaplain. It still utilizes my degrees, but it outside the “divorce discriminated” church world that is hesitant or opposed to allowing me to fulfill my calling. I guess I missed the part of the Bible that says I got uncalled when divorce ravaged my home. The last time I read Romans 11, it said that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. I’ll take the Bible over man’s opinion any day.
Declined a church job offer that did not fit my ministry philosophy or was not a place to which I was clearly called. I took some church positions where I did not align philosophically. My style of music or pastoring did not mix well with the personality of the church. I met some great people in those places, but the way God led me to lead was not welcome at those churches. Now that I am more in the bivocational ministry realm, I can easily say no to churches that are not a good match. I don’t currently have a church that can threaten me by holding my job over my head. I have a job. I’m not saying that everything will be perfect if you find a place that is similar to you, but it makes things a lot easier.
If you could turn back time, what would you do differently? Maybe you got everything right. Good for you! Most of us would change some things. You can’t undo the past, but you sure can do something about here and now. You can make better choices to affect your future. Now is the chance! What are you going to do?