Courage to Do a Difficult 180

Courage to Do a Difficult 180

“I’ve thought it over, and my answer is right”. I’ve made up my mind and there’s no turning around.”  ” I stick to my original decision, no matter what.” “Changing your mind is a sign of weakness.”

Have you ever done a 180-change based on new facts, reasons or vibes?  Did you ever back out of buying a house? of a wedding? or out of a program you signed up for?  a class, a major (how many times?)  Or did you ever surprise everyone and move across the country from family? Amazingly, difficult decisions appear on everyone’s plate at some time. Often, few people even know about our decision until after we have a success story to tell.   The Sensing group are more likely to rehearse problems sooner than Intuitives who prefer to struggle privately and reveal the circuitous steps that led the way out of a difficulty-cave.

None of us knows the truth and changing our minds is the way we get where we think we want to go. Even scientists with new facts from experience and experiments humbly but excitedly, change their predictions and solutions. Changing one’s mind is often the only way to healing.  However, many of us have discovered that doing a 180 instead of returning to the drawing board has led to life-changing opportunities and/or meeting significant people that would have been missed had we dug our heels in.

The one that takes the cake is a friend’s daughter’s wedding plans which were to the fitting-the-attendants’-dresses-stage when she began to have serious doubts. She broke down before her parents that she didn’t think she loved the guy enough to marry him. My friend said that they were shocked and a bit miffed about all of the expense and that the invitations had gone out. They told her that it was normal to have wedding-jitters so urged her to talk it over with her Uncle Roy, the officiating minister.

“It’s better to bite the bullet and back out before you follow through with a relationship that’s doomed to fail”, he counseled.  “Your family and friends will understand and support you.”  She bravely visited the groom who was surprised and hurt, but had no recourse except acceptance.

Her parents sent follow-up cards to the recipients about the cancellation promising to return any gifts. In the long run, the bride-to-be did herself and the prospective groom a favor. The minister was right, that her friends and family would be supportive.

Doing a 180 regarding going through with a wedding takes enormous courage, but interestingly, being true to yourself by changing one’s mind is not necessarily a sign of weakness, but rather one of strength.

Jim and I experienced this when we were searching for seminary housing. We had farmed our three older kids out with friends but had our 2-month-old-nursing-youngest with us. After looking for hours, we concluded that the more affordable seminary housing was inadequate for our family needs and returned to the housing office.  Mrs. Green suggested we look at a 3-bedroom house for sale a few miles outside of Fort Worth and added that the owners were desperate to sell.

We had never owned a house but it was a very attractive idea since it was not far from Seminary, had a fenced-in yard and a clothes line-all that I asked for--as well as an equipped work-shop in the garage that attracted Jim. The monthly mortgage would be about the same for renting.  The owners showed all the things that they would leave including the workshop as encouragement to buy. Jim called his Uncle Jim in Dallas who said he’d help us with the down payment. We went back the next day to make final arrangements but discovered that they had moved everything out overnight including all they promised to leave. We called Uncle Jim to ask him what to do. He said “If you haven’t signed anything, just leave.” Which we did. We were disappointed in owners not keeping their promises. We reported our experience to Mrs. Green who said she had just received word that a seminary-owned rental 3-bedroom house just blocks from Seminary had just become available. It was perfect for our needs. On reflection, we realized buying the house would have been a greater expense than we could manage and would have chained us to that area. Our two oldest, a first and second grader, could walk to school.  That 180 was fortunate.

Sometime, when you’re visiting with your peer-group bring up the subject of changing your mind and get prepared to laugh as you hear stories about ‘the boat that we bought”, the camper we never had time to use, the cabin miles a way that always needed work and we never had time to play, the monocycles…on and on.

We all possess some ability for making practical decisions, emotional decisions, those requiring financial research and others that demand consideration of possibilities. It’s a better idea to search out a friend who is opposite of you when making decisions regarding purchases out of your expertise range.  And before deciding to marry, invest in a couple of counseling sessions or visit your clergyman/woman.

As I write this after returning from our family reunion, I smile as I recall difficult decisions that had to be made as I traveled with daughter, Kay, the driver. We were following the GPS but questioned why it directed us to down-town Louisville, Kentucky which was beautiful but time-consuming.  As we tried to get back on the Interstate, the GPS voice kept directing, recalculating, take the next two rights, then a U turn which Kay was absolutely not going to do knowing it was not getting us back on our route.

In making difficult decisions, we are wise to become friendly to helpful ‘recalculations’. Even when we make short-sighted decisions, God helps us to gather up courage to straighten out some poor choices.  We laughed about the old days of traveling without GPS’s or cell phones when Jim would pull over in a shady spot, get his big map out, study it, then find a filling station attendant for finer directions.

Learning to be fluid with decision-making appears to be more difficult for head-logic Thinkers who prefer to make one solid decision.  Feelers find it easier to shift decisions in the process in order to maintain harmony. Structured people are comfortable making a decision, then, making another decision.  Spontaneous folks tend to put off making any decision until they can make only one.   Conferring with a person who has the Temperament needed in making the wisest decision is always a wise move.

At the reunion I had 30 of Jim’s Tribute booklets to dispense that lacked a tribute paragraph. I didn’t have a clue how to do that, so I mentally reviewed the people at the reunion who had the best ‘Temperament’ to query.  I chose great grand-daughter, Suz, an ENTP, since she possessed Intuitive design and the P for dealing with a type of crisis project. She thought for a moment, and then said, “I know how to do this.” She quickly delegated two nieces who were also visiting in my cabin to cut the papers and she would do the taping. In less than 10 minutes, they completed the project which benefited all of us.

Isn’t it amazing how God created sixteen personalities to take care of all the cares and needs of the world?  None is superior to the other.  Celebrating differences is the name of the ‘game’.

I am interested in hearing about some of your life-changing experiences and opportunities resulting from courage to trust 180 decisions.

Father, thank you for your constant love, care and creation of such colorful differences in personalities.