You can’t make a mistake


An issue of the alumni magazine from a seminary I attended carried a notice about the passing of a beloved professor. The magazine gave a portion of the memorial service, including the remembrance from one of the professor’s daughters in which she recalled a conversation between the two of them.

The young woman was at a crossroads, trying to decide on a course of action. Several options were in front of her, and she was confused about which to pick. Did her father have any wisdom? Could he shed light on her dilemma? Would he tell her what to do? 

Offered a setup like that by one of my own kids, I would probably lay out a couple of well-conceived courses of action and then expect one or the other to be followed. This prof, however, took a different path. “You can’t make a mistake,” he told his daughter. 

At first, she’s confused with this advice, because it doesn’t answer the question she’d posed. She wanted specifics; she got fortune cookie. But then, she realizes that her father has given her a gift. And as she told the story to those gathered for the funeral, she explained that he’d been giving her gifts like this for a long time—words of grace and wisdom coupled with training in the ways of God, who expects, gives, and forms faith in His kids. Her dad was telling her to lean into that—and when someone who loves you, someone you respect, someone who knows stuff thinks you can’t make a mistake? Talk about a confidence booster. 

Today—or yesterday, or next week—various possibilities are spooling out in front of you. In all likelihood, no one of them has a blinking light attached, to indicate that it is THE right/best/obvious choice. So: is God in the mix? Is your brain switched on? 

You can’t make a mistake.



from an upcoming book on navigating the space between losing and finding a job


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