This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Sept 20, 2022
What is the definition of a bad idea? There have been many times in my life when an opportunity came along that I thought was a bad idea. Yet, I went for it anyway, and it turned out to be a blessing. Case in point, just before Thanksgiving in 2016, I hit a deer on I-75 and totaled my car. When I was looking for a new car, I had a very bad idea. I paid $2,700 for a Volkswagen Beetle. I actually paid the money right out of my pocket, so I never had to make a car payment on it. Today, that car is my most favorite car I have ever owned.
So, was purchasing a 16-year-old car a bad idea? Probably. Of course, now the car is 22 and I am committed to driving it until either it disintegrates or Jesus returns, whichever happens first.
But, there have been a whole lot of things in my life that I thought were really bad ideas that ended up being great once I got over my initial apprehension. We won’t talk about the things I thought would be great ideas that crashed and burned because that list is embarrassingly long.
There are so many things in life we talk ourselves out of because we are convinced they are bad ideas. I would like to take a moment and consider with you what really a bad idea is. I guess this purpose of this article is to help me figure out the difference between a bad idea that is really good, and a bad idea that is actually bad. I believe the real criteria that I usually use to determine a bad idea is asking myself, “Do I really want to do it?” I can talk myself out of all kinds of things because I declare them to be a bad idea. When my alarm goes off at 5:15 in the morning, I feel like that alarm is a bad idea. But I also know how much morning stuff I need to get done before I show up to Wayne Street. If I don’t get my reading and devotional time and my work out in, the whole day is thrown off. Sure, I could sleep in to 7:00, but that is not good for me. So as bad of an idea as 5:15 feels like, I know that it is actually a very good idea. The rest of my day goes better.
Therefore, feelings can be a little suspect when determining what a bad idea is. Feelings will talk me out of many things by telling me they are a bad idea, just because I don’t feel like doing them. You want to be careful about that. Feelings can be a dangerous criteria because be honest with me, how many good things do you not feel like doing before you do them? Lots of them! I don’t want you to ignore your feelings about what you will or won’t do. I am just saying that if your feelings are the only thing you consider, it will probably lead you astray.
What I try to do, and the internal argument I have every morning at 5:16 after listening to that alarm for 1 solid minute, is to consider the outcome. That isn’t always easy, but I have to focus on what I want to see happen. Do I want to be tired, prayer starved, not worked out, and 3 hours behind on my schedule by 9:00AM? No, so regardless how I feel at that early hour, there is only one good choice, and it is not the one that feels good. In fact, I am usually not happy with the choice until about 2:00 in the afternoon, a good 9 hours later. That is when I am reaping the benefits of getting my morning started off right.
2:00 in the afternoon is not what I am feeling that early in the morning. My feeling is to go back to sleep, but that is a lie that my tired old knees and achy feet tell me first thing in the morning. I can’t feel the right thing. Instead, I have to know the right thing, and the right thing for me at that hour is not in bed where I feel good. The right thing is in my Bible reading for the day, or under the big tire I flip around my yard, or somewhere down the tow path. Regardless of how it feels, the good idea is out there, not where I am.
My encouragement to all of you is to not allow your feelings to determine the difference between a good idea and a bad idea. Feelings rarely get that one correct and that leads to tremendous regret. Regret either over the road not travelled or regret of going down a road you should never have been on in the first place.