What I'm learning about beginning again ...

If there is any excellence . . . think about these things.
— Philippians 4:8 ESV

I have a love-hate relationship with my "mobile device." It periodically holds my productivity ransom until I cough up more personal information. So I resist ... for a little while.

Last summer, I staged a lengthy holdout with my Nike Running App. Mind you, I don't run, I walk, but the GPS-coordinated app keeps track of the distance with pinpoint precision. It also delivers sweet attaboys from world-class runners to spur on my efforts.

I had logged 750 miles last year when my mobile device crashed. Remember, I was in a standoff with the Swoosh. I didn't want to give up more data so I never synced the information on my app with Nike. When my phone died those 750 miles disappeared.

That was tough. I was within 250 miles of watching the digital display read 1000. To me, that's like watching the odometer go from 99,999 to 100,000. It's a momentous occasion. It doesn't matter if your barreling down the Interstate at 70 miles an hour in rush-hour traffic -- you gotta take a picture of that.


When the app reset, when my digital display read 0.00 and I had a decision to make. Would I curse Nike? Would I bemoan my own stupidity for never syncing the app? Would I stage a protest against the cloud and all things digital? Or . . . would I take a step and begin again?

I took a step!

These days I am rereading Boundaries For Leaders by Henry Cloud. Cloud is reminding what King David wrote a few thousand years ago,

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
— Psalm 139:7 ESV

The word "brilliance" does not do justice when it comes to describing God's creative masterpiece that is the human brain. Consider what was going on in my mind at that moment. Cloud writes:

. . . anticipating outcomes, either positive or negative, causes different chemical reactions in the brain. . . . the anticipation of a good outcome produces the chemical dopamine. Among other attributes, dopamine helps the brain be awake and interested . . . . A positive and optimistic brain is a productive, energized brain ready to explore new idea and to grapple with hard problems. . . . Said another way, the logic is: "If my life sucks for some reason, I can do something to make it better." Boundaries For Leaders, pages 108-109.

When my phone died and my app reset and my heart sank and I was ready to say, "Oh what's the use!", I did not have to give in to that line of thinking. I could resist. In the great mental tug-o-war, I could pull in the opposite direction. I could say, "Well, it's going to take a long time to get to 1000, but I can begin again."

And I did. And a few days ago I passed the 1000-mile mark (and I took a picture!).

Here are few things I'm learning about beginning again.

  1. Starting over is possible, because God the Creator has made us creative. Creativity is the child of initiative. Initiative is hard-wired from Heaven. So take the initiative to begin again.
  2. Starting over is painful, but it's worth the pain. So stare down that long difficult road. Imagine what things will look like when you get there! Take a step in that direction.
  3. Starting over is powerful, because God uses it to grow the muscle of discipline. So put on your workout gear and get started.
  4. Starting over is satisfying, because God has designed us to feel the anticipation of the future outcome. So put on your dancing shoes and prepare for the party.

There are days when the app crashes, the project crashes, the business crashes, the friendship crashes, the marriage crashes, or something else crashes. You don't have to sit in despair. God has designed you to begin again. In his power, you can!

In all toil there is profit,
but mere talk tends only to poverty.
— Proverbs 14:23 ESV