Today I changed my mind about doing something. It was something that was attractive, and within my range of skills. But over the past couple of weeks, as I’d set aside time to think and engage, I realised that it was a bigger job than I’d anticipated, and that I couldn’t do it in a way that was worthwhile in the time available. So I dropped it.
I do wonder, sometimes, if we go too hard with our plans too early, and the result is that we feel trapped by them.
Take preaching series, for instance. Last autumn we started a series on Ephesians. there were two of us leading on it, and we had done all the work beforehand, like dividing up the passages and giving some thought to how they might apply as we went through.
But as we started and had the first few Sundays, we realised that despite all that, we were still getting spiritual indigestion. The sections we’d set were too long, and our sermons were indigestible.
So what would you have done? Because most of us operate in churches where the sermon series is tied up, and published. Would you have ploughed on?
It’s precisely for that reason that I don’t like giving the passages out too publicly. We have a calendar, but that’s for the team and the planning. Publicly, all people knew was that it was a series on Ephesians, and the next Sunday’s passage went on the website and the weekly email. So in theory we could change track.
But there is a huge psychological barrier to admitting we’d got it a bit wrong, and starting again. It’s almost as though we are hard-wired to decide fast, and against rethinking the options.
But we made the effort, did the change, and a good job too.
And actually, we could and should have done so whatever the publicity said. We’re not a megachurch with a vast budget invested in our publicity machine, after all, and a publishing contract with a deadline to meet.
We only had to change our minds.
We did with our Advent series recently; half way up the path in one direction, and we realised that, no, we needed to go up a different one. Even though it made us look indecisive, the result was a better decision.
When did you last feel free to change your mind? How hard do you find it to take stuff out of the diary?