I’m in Germany & slowly making my way to Angola for some work with Saving Moses & our malnutrition clinics there. Our layover in Germany afforded some time to get out of the airport & catch a train to a nearby city. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention to the train stops, so we went too far & included some extra sightseeing. I felt like an idiot because I’m not an amateur traveler & this isn’t my first train ride in Germany.
But we kept trying & alas, had a lovely afternoon outside of the airport, with delicious food, glorious sun & some nice walking.
Just because we make a mistake doesn’t mean that we quit trying. Mistakes can be frustrating but also informative & sometimes God has some unique opportunities to redeem our mistakes, if we keep a healthy attitude & humble heart 🙂
I hate to fall but moreso I hate the possible injuries that come from falling. We can all remember those times as kids when we scrapped up our hands & knees from falling. And as adults, it’s even less fun to fall. Where – But falling happens. We fall physically & maybe injure our wrists. We also fall in other ways – like having a mishap / fall in a hostile interaction with a co-worker. Or maybe we fall from an emotional struggle & go back to some bad habits. We can fall when there’s an area of pride, possibly our work performance, achievements, intelligence, beauty, etc. Why – We fall because we aren’t paying attention to where we’re going. We fall because we didn’t see an obstacle. We fall because we might be in pride. We fall because we’re going faster than our abilities allow. Help – So when we fall, what are some do’s & dont’s?
Do clean out any wounds to prevent infection – don’t tolerate unforgiveness
Do get up & keep going – don’t quit
Do learn the lessons that come from falling – don’t repeat the exact same fall or mistake
Do keep trying – don’t find excuses for getting rigid & moribund
Do lean into the Holy Spirit to teach you how to walk together & prevent some mishaps & falls 🙂
In our modern world, outage is common & I think even expected sometimes. It seems like we can get massively incensed at almost anything: driving infractions, mistakes on paychecks or bills, government shortfalls, moral failures in Christian leaders, etc
But here’s something to consider: if sin is the common human experience, why do we allow ourselves to be outraged when people sin or make mistakes? Wouldn’t we be more constructive to celebrate the moments when humans don’t behave sinfully? What about when a driver makes space for you instead of cutting you off? That’s noteworthy! What about when a government does something positive that exceeds your expectations? This might not be often, but that’s exactly why we should celebrate it! And when a Christian leader has a moral failure, let’s not be so much outraged as we should pray for them & have sincere compassion because we identify with our own shortfalls.
Let’s aim for less outrage & more celebration 🙂
There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t mess up something. These mishaps can be relatively small: I was a few minutes late to collect my son after school. And these mishaps can be super-size: I misread a deadline or email for some work that I need to accomplish or I miscalculated a budget item or conversion rate & I don’t have enough money.
In the past when I messed up, it was a double-whammy because I would massively berate myself in my thinking, in addition to trying to fix the mistake. I’m better now, as I don’t roast myself as much as I did, so that’s encouraging. But here are a few more thoughts that could help you, whenver you mess up:
mistakes are for learning & perfect is for heaven
be gentle with yourself because it will help you to be gentle with others when they mess up
messing up seems to be where we rely on the Holy Spirit better
getting better doesn’t happen without some mistakes & messing up
“practice” is a good word to replace “messing up”
Be sure to send this to your friends, because we all mess up!
Being the mom of three teenagers, we have some interesting conversations & experiences. In their lives, there a significant events that seem to be defining moments, like getting a driver’s license, taking their first solo missions trip (without me), getting their first job, etc. While these events are very monumental, it seems to me that the more important stuff happens in the preparation for these events. For example, my husband has been massively attentive to help them practice driving so they’re fully prepared when they take their drivers license test. And the work they do at home to clean, do laundry, etc prepares them to do good work on their first independent job, hopefully.
I say all of this to encourage both you & me that the defining moments are hopefully nothing more than the cumulative total of preparation & practice to ensure that these moments / experiences go off with great success. Don’t neglect the importance of daily routines & practice as these set us up to succeed for what can seem to be pinnacle experiences & events 🙂
This morning seems to be fraught with “oooooops!” and not just a few. Some of these mishaps are relatively minor, but when they stack up, things can get “challenging.” I’m hoping that the entirety of this day isn’t a string of consecutive mishaps. But even if this day goes from “oooops to oooops”, rather than “glory to glory”, I’m deciding to go with trusting God more than dwelling in the frustration.
When I write this, it sounds good, but the individual decisions to walk out this mindset is where the rubber hits the road. And this is where the step by step reliance on the Holy Spirit moves into execution mode more than speculation & ethereal platitudes.
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, but feel free to join me in making these decisions to trust God throughout your day today!
Sometimes I’m smart, but more times I’m a dingbat. I forget stuff, don’t pay attention well, I’m insensitive & definitely say dumb stuff from time to time. But I deeply appreciate God’s grace.
Indeed, God’s face redeems my dingbat & makes it into something good & helpful! When I try to camouflage my dingbat actions, it usually backfires & makes things worse. So i figures that I have a divine treasure in this earthen vessel (2Cor 4;7), being conformed to the image of Jesus through God’s grace & the redeeming help of the Holy Spirit!
Seems like we prefer skinny to fat, but there’s some good value to considering “phat”, in the sense of Jehoshaphat the King of Judah in 1 Kings. I like this king because he’s flawed but he keeps trying. He also seems to make some really stupid decisions & God still keeps him regardless of his stupidity.
For example, Jehoshaphat really tried to reconcile with his counterpart, Ahab, a godless king of the northern kingdom. You might recognize Ahab as Jezebel’s husband & she was the epitome of wicked, full stop. Back to Jehoshaphat, there was a battle that Jehoshaphat & Ahab fought together but Ahab disguised himself as a common soldier & Jehoshaphat stayed attired in his kingly garb – seems stupid to me. Nonetheless, Ahab was randomly shot in the battle & died but Jehoshaphat survived.
After reading about this battle in my Bible time this morning, I was encouraged that God helps me even when I make stupid decisions. It’s ok to be phat, learn & make new mistakes! Happy phat Monday ,)
This summer, it seems like people are traveling more than usual – by airplane, car, train, bike, etc. While I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert traveler, I’ve had enough mistakes & mishaps to give advice from what a person shouldn’t do 🙂
Consider a few helpful tips:
Know where you’re going, or at least get the general direction clear – this relates to setting goals & achieving things as well
Patience & flexibility – enjoy the journey rather than bite your nails, you could likely have some fun experiences & meet some awesome peeps
Rest – Jesus napped on the boats when He traveled, so it seems wise to grab some winks along the way
Pay attention – listen & watch for the Holy Spirit because traveling can be an incredible opportunity to get closer to Heavenly Help
Don’t be afraid to fail, but do be afraid to stop trying.
Sometimes, I think we don’t try to do things because we don’t want to fail or we’re afraid we won’t do well. I’ve come to conclusion that failure is an essential ingredient for training and ultimately for success. It’s seems to me that the road to success is littered with a fair amount of both failure and persistence.
I say this thinking about Joseph in the book of Genesis & his success in keeping nations from literally starving to death. When you consider his leadership work in Egypt during an epic famine, it’s more than just a little impressive. But consider that Joseph had lots of practice & failure along the journey to get him to a place where he could be so outrageously successful. I would suggest that he was training and practicing in leadership with his family during the dreams and many colored coat thing. Furthermore, he was training with his administrative & leadership skills in Potipher’s house & prison. And all of this was for the ultimate purpose of rescuing thousands & possibly millions from starving when he became second in command in Egypt under Pharaoh.
So when we fail, let’s replace any potential shame with applause, that we tried to do something new or different and we can only get better from here! The other side of failure could mean life for lots of people around you! Be sure to let the Holy Spirit continue to help you practice and get better 🙂
This is a page of my handwriting, which is possibly the most illegible you’ll ever see in your entire life. But I keep writing – not to make my handwriting better (that might be hopeless) but for a different reason, maybe a little bit like Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples.
Consider that Peter was one of the crowning examples of success on the Day of Pentecost when he stood up to share about Jesus to a massive crowd of curious Jews. From Peter’s message, 3,000 became followers of Jesus & the Christian church was birthed with the power of the Holy Spirit. But if one looks into Peter’s years preceding Pentecost, I wouldn’t really throw him in the “successful category.” From my perspective, he was kind of a loose lipped, impulsive wannabe, not unlike me from time to time.
But here’s an essential ingredient for the success secret sauce: practice.
Peter kept practicing even though he had frequent failures, shortfalls & general stupidity. But he kept practicing. Even when Jesus corrected Peter, he didn’t quit practicing. Sometimes Peter got it right, “Jesus, you’re the Son Of God.” Sometimes he needed to keep practicing, like when he tried to forbid Jesus from dying for the sins of the world, whoops.
Rather than framing our mistakes in the failure or quitting filter, let’s keep the practice mindset & know that the more we practice the more we grow & the better people we become. What are some areas in your life that need more practice?
I recently did a blog about practicing our trust in God. As I’ve thought about this whole idea of practice, I’m also aware that there can be a few pitfalls along the practicing trust adventure. Here are a few things that you might find helpful with the practicing trust and pitfalls with adventures:
practice isn’t the place where we get perfect every time. Heaven is for perfect & earth is for practice
practice & mistakes go together like peanut butter & jelly, salt & pepper. Practice & mistakes are natural complements on the road to success
practicing trust can have good bleed over in various areas of our lives: if we find it “easy” to trust God with our finances, then consider that the same trust can also be expanded to maybe your health, relationships, job or school
trusting God is an essential component to growing in an intimate relationship with God
Here’s the honest truth: without hair dye, I’m easily 60% grey. To keep the grey at bay, I need to get my hair dyed at least every 6weeks or I start to look like a skunk with my roots growing out. So my recent problem is that I haven’t been able to see my superhero hair stylist. As such, I tried to buy some time with a box of cheater dye from Walmart, which apparently had expired because my hair is now various shades of purple, red, brown and even some pink, depending on your angle of observation. All of these shades can be humorous to the observer, but not as funny to me 🙁
So here are my cheater lesson take aways:
there’s no substitute for professional help – this includes letting the Holy Spirit be our Professional Help 🙂
it’s healthy to admit mistakes and laugh at one’s self – valuable lessons in humility
I’m far more sympathetic with other’s mistakes when I can’t disguise or hide my own shortcomings & failures 🙂
cheating & shortcuts most often become expensive long cuts, so to speak 🙂
When I was 19, I dislocated my shoulder playing intramural basketball in college & had surgery to repair my rotator cuff. Being a very smart & savy 19 year old, who knew everything & was highlyindependent, I didn’t want anyone’s help. I even remember my kind & patient roommate chastizing me about how I might possibly regret not letting people help me with my shoulder recovery. God bless my roommate – she was right & I was wrong.
Now I’m in my late 40s and have struggled with my shoulder for almost 30 years, most recently dislocating it during a snowboarding adventure. Having acquired some tread in life, I don’t want to make the same mistake that I made in my late teens, even when it means being altogether uncomfortable and asking for help.
The Bible is full of great examples of people who learned from their mistakes:
Joseph & his brothers when they came to buy food in Egypt
Moses not killing Egyptians when he returned to liberate the Israelites from Egyptian slavery
Paul stopped persecuting the church after his Damascus Road experience
Maybe it’s only bad to make mistakes when they’re the same ones over & over & over & over & over again 🙂
One of my favorite people in the Bible is Jacob, Isaac’s son & Abraham’s grandson. I like Jacob for lots of reasons:
he’s very human: his mistakes, flaws, shortcomings aren’t hidden nor minimized
he’s God conscientious, even when it’s hindsight
he learns and grows: working for Laban was a long & vertical learning curve, moves to Egypt at the end of his life, etc
he’s wise in how he handles Esau when he returns from serving Laban – a very touchy situation
Jacob was certainly a schemer and manipulator, but he was also repaid for his deceptions (Laban & the Rachel / Leah fiasco; Jacob’s sons trick him about Joseph). But Jacob was also attentive to God – at Bethel he built an altar, he paid attention to the God-given dream about Laban’s flocks as well as the dream to move to Egypt. And possibly one of my absolute favorites of all times, Jacob wrestled with God’s angel after he left Laban & before he crossed into his homeland, acquiring a new name from that wrestling match. While Jacob certainly didn’t do it all right, he learned, grew, changed and honored God 🙂
I’m not a big fan of being nervous. I usually mess stuff up when I’m nervous, make goofy mistakes & generally present myself poorly. I was on an important phone conversation earlier this week & I found myself getting nervous, stuttering, stumbling & sounding less than brainy :/
So what to do about being nervous? Here are a few helpful ideas:
*prepare ahead of time – usually my biggest downfall
*pray and ask God to give you peace
*stay focused on what’s immediate, not getting overwhelmed by what’s massive
*trust that God is bigger than your humanity & flaws – message out a mess, testimony from a test & redemption from rubble 🙂
Yesterday, I made the mistake of posting a poem that I thought Dr Maya Angelou wrote. I received lots of helpful & gracious feedback so I edited my post at the bottom to acknowledge my mistake. I left the poem, nevertheless, because I think it’s a really good poem & I found it to be very encouraging, no matter who wrote it.
But the topic of mistakes is a tricky topic. We all make mistakes, pretty close to everyday. We make mistakes as we drive, when we cook, saying things we shouldn’t, not speaking up when we should, work / school mistakes, . . . . . So here’s some that help me when I make mistakes (feel free to chime in with your own ideas as well):
**be quick to admit a mistake & apologize
**try to make new mistakes & not the same ones ,)
**the only person with no mistakes is Jesus
**mistakes often have more lessons than successes
**be quick to forgive mistakes even if the person doesn’t ask forgiveness
**if pencils are mistakes, grace is the eraser
**let your mistakes be more constructive than destructive
Sometimes I run into people who I’ve briefly met many years ago & it’s unfortunate that I don’t always remember everyone. There are also events & situations that I’ve forgotten over the years as well. It’s probably good that I’ve forgotten some things 🙂
But let’s think about forgetting some things that would be good. Let’s forget:
*how to complain
*how to be negative
*how to worry
*the anxiety & fear that lingered w a past event of trauma
*how to belittle people
*the “I can’t” words
*shame from bad decisions
Forgetting the past, lets press on toward Jesus!
I recently used a parking meter for an appt that I was in and I skimped on the meter. Sure enough, my meeting went longer than I expected & voila, I found the ever lovely parking ticket on my windshield. As I looked at the ticket, I figured out that if I would have added 50cents to the meter, I could have avoided the $25 ticket. I hate making these kinds of mistakes – where I try to skimp with time or money & wind up spending more; hate those kinds of mistakes.
So to get the most out of this experience, here are my learning points that might be helpful to you as well:
margin – give yourself some cushion so that you don’t spend more time & money than is necessary
grace – berating yourself for mistakes is wasted emotional energy; learn the lesson & move on
change – repeating the same errors is stupid; learning & changing is smart 🙂