By Beth Demme
Did you catch the typo in the title? If so, we probably have something in common. I seem to have a radar for those kinds of mistakes.
During a visit to the zoo, I made my son pause at the sign for the Mountian Goat. On a road trip, I laughed out loud when we crossed the “Georgia-Florida Pwky.” I wasn’t quick enough to snap a photo, but Google Earth was:
Other people’s typos are a source of comic relief for me. I know everyone makes mistakes. No big deal, right?
Right, except I’m not so gracious with myself. I take my own mistakes way too seriously. I catch myself thinking mistakes and failure are the same thing, and both mean I’m not lovable.
That kind of thinking raises the stakes of every action and every decision. It also makes it hard for me to admit my mistakes. Admitting a mistake is tantamount to announcing I don’t deserve to be loved.
As I learn to #LiveLoved, my mistakes have less power over me.
I’m learning, finally, that whatever mistakes I make, God still loves me. Isn’t this at least part of what Jesus meant when he said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10)?
If I never made mistakes, I wouldn’t need forgiveness.
If I never broke down, I’d never see how much I need God.
My friend Elaine says, “mistakes are learning opportunities that motivate all of us to work a little harder.” Yes, she is a teacher and a principal. Of course, Elaine is right. A mistake should be a learning opportunity and can be a source of motivation.
But how often is this really the case for us?
When my children were toddlers, I felt so overwhelmed by my mistakes as a mom (way too many overly-angry blow-ups), I thought maybe I wasn’t good enough to parent them. After prayer, study, and counseling I realized that God chose my children for me, just as he chose me for them.
I have to constantly remind myself: I am not a mommy by mistake, no matter how many mistakes I make as a mommy.
How about you? How do you react when you make a mistake?
I read an article the other day about an entrepreneur who learned a major life lesson only when he failed. He believed that if his company failed, it would be the end of him as an individual. I don’t think this is an uncommon feeling, especially for business owners and innovators.
When the worst happened, and everything fell apart at work, he found he still had what mattered — the love of his wife, his children, and even his dog. In reality, the business failure was the beginning of a new perspective on life, not the end of something irreplaceable.
When the entrepreneur failed, he realized that he could go forward living loved.
Sometimes we have to fall apart to find what really matters.
Have you discovered yet that you are lovable? Do you know that even if you make big mistakes today and everything at work or at home falls apart, God still loves you? It’s true.