Starting Over is Harder than Starting


Earlham Advocate



I have met very few people in life who have been unable to start. Just about everyone has started something worthwhile to help themselves or help others. You might say you can’t get started or get going but the fact is you probably have a harder time starting over than you do starting. Animals get conditioned fairly quickly to not even start if they get “burned” more than a few times, so to speak. The reward simply becomes unimportant and unattainable if it is at the expense of getting hurt. Once animals reach this phase during research they usually become “obsolete” and no longer useful to the testing. It doesn’t take too much imagination to figure out what happens to test animals when they are no longer useful.


At the risk of sounding like a Darwinist or Evolutionist, let me say that we humans are too much like our animal friends when it comes to trying and starting over. It is not for a lack of knowledge that many of us struggle with the same sin(s) in our lives. Most addicts are not addicts because they are stupid. Most obese people do not stay obese because they don’t know any better way to live. I rarely make a social blunder because I don’t know how to behave in certain social settings. It was the Apostle Paul who quickly admitted he knew how he should live and he sometimes just didn’t do the right thing. And, he knew behaviors he shouldn’t do and yet he did them anyway. He didn’t lack in knowledge or motivation.


Many of us are good at starting but we struggle with starting over. Let me illustrate some more. The last few days have been a great breath of fresh air outside with warmer temperatures and hours of sunlight. It sure beats the last couple of months of cold air and dreary days. We all enjoy season changes because it displays the best of what this great earth has to offer. It gives us hope of better and newer days ahead. Of course, the last few warm days are only a tease. We still have some more winter and snow ahead of us. Don’t get out your rakes, garden shovels and tillers just yet. We know from experience that if we planted flowers or tilled the garden or started an outdoor project today that we would probably soon be met with dissatisfaction and perhaps destruction (of the flowers and efforts). It wouldn’t take. The freeze will come, the snow will come; more freezing and thawing will take place and perhaps even more warm days followed by snow days will come. That said, we aren’t pessimists because we wait until the real spring arrives. We are simply realists.


Being a realist can sometimes be detrimental if your reality is based too much upon “your reality” and not “reality.” If your reality is that you have tried and failed enough then there are good chances you don’t try anymore. If your reality is that you mother, brother, cousin, uncle and best friend “never” seem to get over the hump, then you might believe you are never destined to get over the hump. However, the reality is that many people get over the “hump” (whatever that might be for you…finances, relationships, health, addictions, etc). You are not destined to failure. You are not destined to mediocrity. You are not destined to eternal winter. You are not destined to be just another branch in your broken family tree. You can go plant, sprout and grow in some other field. You are not a failure just because you failed before. Your weight, health, finances, relationships and emotions can get better simply by choosing to start over. People improve in these areas every single day and today may be your first day on that path. You have to start over despite what your history has told you. Have your pity party and then plan your victory party. God said His mercies are new every morning.

About admin

I am currently serving as the Associate Minister at a Church in Earlham, Iowa, population about 1300. There are probably another 1300 folks who live outside the “city limits.” I am married to my lovely wife Heather. We moved from Mesa, AZ in January 2006. We have a dog (Sammy) and a cat (Daphne). We also have a 92 year old house the sucks the life out of me (Rex), and costs a whole lot of money to upgrade, and is generally a pain in my butt…but I am not bitter. So far I have set my arm on fire, broken my wrist, broken my toe, got tendonitis in my foot, fell out of the bucket of skid loader, captured and “removed” 13 bats from my attic, been to the chiropractor dozens of times and have more doctors on my payroll than I care to admit. I am not very handy! Iowa has been so life-changing for me, but I love the pace of life, pace of ministry and the quality of people. I went to college at Atlanta Christian College near Atlanta, GA where I recieved a Bachelors Degree in Christian Ministry/Preaching. I went to Seminary at Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City, TN., where I recieved a Master of Divinity degree with a specialization in Christian Care and Counseling. In addition, I have 2800 hours of post-graduate training as a Chaplain specializing in Crisis Care. I have served Churches in GA, KY, NC, AZ and now Iowa. I have also served as a Chaplain at hospitals in AL and AZ in addition to serving as a Corporate Chaplain with several companies in the metro Phoenix area for a short time. I was also blessed with the opportunity to serve as a Chaplain at the in-field hospital at a NASCAR race in Talladega, AL (once) and as a Chaplain to the Mesa Miners professional baseball team (six weeks). Rex L. Stancil Associate Minister Earlham Church of Christ 515.867.8559 mobile 515.758.2020 home 515.758.2787 office
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