Setbacks to Setups

on March 10, 2021

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing; Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
Philippians 3:13 (NLT)

Setbacks happen. How we approach them can hold us back or move us forward. Setbacks offer us an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and to understand better God’s power working in us. He wants to help us, whether stuck in a setback today or chained to a past setback filled with regret. God helped me resolve a setback and find closure to a struggle I carried as a single parent for years.

During my forties, my dance and gymnastic business took every minute of the day, including weekends, to keep it running. I had two young children and too often felt like a failure as a mother. I thought I was doing my best to balance career and parenting until I found my eight-year-old son’s fill-in-the-blank wish list school assignment. I gasped when I read his first line; I wished I had more time with my Mother. She is always at work.

I felt sad and full of REGRET. I was not meeting my son’s needs. During that time, well-meaning people added to my pain, telling me I spent too many hours in the studio. My mother and sister helped me by attending to my children’s activities while I worked. Every event I missed reminded me that I lacked as a parent.

Today those prickly memories are dim. They no longer hurt, but the regret surfaces occasionally. Relying on God’s promises helped me turn my parenting perspective around and understand myself better.

One morning as I surrendered my thoughts to God, I remembered there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Through Philippians 3:13, I realized that it was time to move on. God used what I thought was a setback to create a setup with positive outcomes. Dance students often told me I helped them build their self-esteem. They learned how to express themselves through movement and appreciate the art of dance.

God’s plan for my earlier years positioned me to help many children to believe in themselves. And with a smile, I now include my children in that group. They are independent happy adults pursuing their own dreams.

Regrets hold us captive to our limitations and imperfections. I have learned that we can never change what was; however, changing our perception of a setback can help us take a step forward to fulfill God’s plan for our lives.

Take some quiet time to consider your setbacks and how they can be converted to setups for something positive.

Join in the conversation:
What insights have you gained as a result of viewing setbacks as setups?

27 thoughts on “Setbacks to Setups”

  1. Somethings you can’t do over. I use what I’ve learned to help others do better so they won’t experience the same regrets.
    Lessons learned are most valuable. We can become stronger and better as a result.
    Thank you for your transparency.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Dr. Evelyn Johnson-Taylor, Getting better, not bitter, is the only way to go, especially in these times. You have helped many in your ministry to gain strength and vision. May God continue to bless others through you.

  2. Elissa mount says:

    Linda,
    I loved this! I am currently struggling with mom guilt as I am working will full time with youth and families as counselor in their homes. Most families are in crisis so I am on call 24 hours a day during the week. Creating boundaries with home life has been challenging yet recognizing it is a calling from God to be in this position softens the”mom guilt” you referred to in your post.
    My goal has been to practice the art of presence more intentionally . Whether I am with my children or at work with someone else’s children, if I am talking to a friend, if I am sitting with my husband on the couch, or if I am talking with God and gazing at a sunset, I am working on being fully present in that moment because really that is all I am promised. I have a long way to go in this practice but my soul whispers “it is well.”
    In HIs Grip,
    Elissa Mount

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Hi, Elissa, Yes, all is well or at least better when we keep our focus on Jesus. I think of you and your family often. I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear from you.

  3. Jean Hall says:

    Thanks, Linda. This is very applicable to me–and to most people, I think. I, too, have regrets as a parent. It took many years for me to let go of the guilt and let the regret help me become a better parent to my adult children, and to advise them on how to be better parents.

    p.s. This format works well for me.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      His grace has given us more time to understand guilt and what it really is. Your life is a testimony to God’s grace.

  4. Annette says:

    Thanks so much for your vulnerability in sharing this, Linda. There are so many things I regret doing and not doing as a parent. Thank you for reminding me that through Christ we can repent and move forward into the calling He has given- knowing that His power will see us through. I know He will use your beautifully written post to minister to many—just as He has used it to minister to me.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Hi Annette, I took a deep breath when I read your post. We are never alone on this walk called life. God is always with us and sends friends to hold us up.

  5. Pim Miranda says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this story of your past, Linda. It caused me to think of my own story of regret, which I could share some time, if you want. Meanwhile, I am reflecting on how the Lord used that for good in my life.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      I would love to hear your story, Pim. Reflect, repeat, reflect, that’s how we learn. Regret buried inside keeps us in chains.

  6. Awesome article! Thank you for sharing, Linda. Every one of us has regrets, we just have to forgive ourselves, ask for God’s forgiveness, and ask for our children’s sometimes, too. Love & miss you! Come visit soon!

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Forgiveness brings freedom. Miss you too, Diane.

  7. Anne says:

    Thank you for reminding us that we all have the opportunity to turn our setbacks into ways to help others and ourselves to fulfill God’s plans in our lives. Best of luck on your studies and new accomplishments.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Thanks for stopping by and posting. I appreciate you.

  8. C.C. Kennedy says:

    Wonderful blog. Thanks for your transparency…this is an issue most working mothers have faced and dealt with. I recall going to the ladies room (at the office) to cry because I was not home with my son when he needed me. I had stayed late that day to impress the boss and “get ahead”. I have struggled with the regrets from that season in my life. Always enjoy your blogs and they are very helpful!

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Your wisdom is priceless. Thanks for posting.

  9. Nancy says:

    I think as parents we all have many regrets. I wish I had been a better mom to my kids. We had a good life but a lot of mistakes. We had lots of good times too. With God on our side we can’t ask for anything better! We made it! Lol.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Thank you for stopping in my faithful friend. God is the answer to everything.

  10. Great post, Linda! I can relate, as I too was a single parent trying to work and provide for my family. I have often apologized to them for my shortcomings during those days, and they have graciously forgiven me. I can’t change the past, but today and the future can be molded differently. Those setbacks of regret have been a springboard for a setup where I devote myself wholeheartedly to their adult lives and celebrate them every day. My regrets have been wiped away with Christ’s loving forgiveness, and my present is full of joy.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Thank you for sharing, Karen. Your joy shines bright.

  11. Bona Hayes says:

    Great blog, Linda! I especially liked the insight “Regrets hold us captive to our limitations and imperfections. As always, I appreciate your vulnerability. God bless.
    Bona

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Lord bless you, Bona Hayes. As always, I appreciate your comments.;-)

  12. Diane S. Clark says:

    I admire your humility and desire to let others learn from your choices and their consequences. Being a single parent is a tough gig–food and shelter vs. time with kids. You could have chosen to work for minimum wage supplemented by social welfare which could have rendered more time with your family yet a lesser lifestyle. Your daughter has followed your legacy of dance; she teaches successfully today with her business and is changing lives and mentoring self-esteem–praise God! Your son is launched and gainfully employed as well. Soak in your successes, not your regrets. Your are LOVED! Keep writing and encouraging!

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Thank you for your loyal support and love, Diane.

  13. Sally Cressman says:

    Thank you for your honesty, Linda. I think moms carry lots of regrets. I sure would like some do-overs! But I always return to grace. Grace heals the regrets.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Amen, Sally! God’s grace is big enough to cover every area of our lives.

  14. Diane S. Clark says:

    You’re special to Him; You’re special to me!

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