I want to talk about mistakes.
I want to talk about grace and forgiveness and about coming as you are.
Show of hands how many of you have made mistakes in the past few days? You may not be able to see it, but I have both hands up in the air. Oh, wait, wait; both legs are raised up too. Take today for instance. Today we had some potential buyers coming to look at our house, smack dab in the middle of nap time. It was just myself and the two little ones, so I thought, “Hey, why not skip nap and take them to Dairy Queen? That’ll be a nice treat for them.” Today was a day for thinking fancifully. Allow me to boil it down for you: a 1.5 year old and a 4.5 year old up since 7:30 AM, no nap, one parent, going to the only ice cream shop in town on a Friday just as the high school and middle school day (that are located a block from the DQ) comes to an end.
That, my friends, was a mistake. A big one.
Once I was done (or during) carrying my 1.5 year old (and herding my 4.5 year old through the mass of teens) while carrying 3 full items, wiping all of the treats off of all of us (yeah – every single one of us ended up with sweet treats on our person) the only thought running through my head was, “Never again. Never. Again. NEVER AGAIN.” We brought the extra treat (because of course I had to buy an extra one for my hard-working husband) to Daddy and he confirmed it to me. “Yeah, maybe you shouldn’t do these things unless I’m there.” For me, it didn’t end there, though. I had to scold my 1.5 year old (repeatedly), grumble about how hard it all was; essentially not letting it go.
I tend to dwell. Because I am a professional dweller, I dwell just as much on the act itself as on how I react. That, too, is a mistake. I examine and re-examine and then re-re-examine how I reacted. Once I’ve looked at it from every angle I sort of criminalize myself. It’s not hard to do. It’s not hard to feel bad about yelling at a 1.5 year old. It’s not hard to be upset with myself for going through with a crazy stupid idea that is going to cause grief in the end. It’s not hard to feel like I am the only one in the world that makes mistakes.
That being said, as long as I can look outside myself (read: stop being selfish and throwing pity parties), it’s really not hard to see the opposite. It’s also not hard to see that no one else thinks those things about me. When we got home, even though I just yelled at her, my tired little 1.5 year old wanted to snuggle into me and fall asleep. She didn’t find me criminal. My 4.5 year old grabbed a blanket, turned on a movie and made sure there was just as much room for her on my lap. She didn’t think that my idea of treating them was crazy and/or filled with only grief. As you can see, we’re all tired, but we’re pretty content with life.
We all make mistakes. We will all always make mistakes. If you’re like me, you will make them several times a day. But we have to learn from it and move on. Don’t dwell. Yeah, clearly I am still learning this trick, but I am learning. Maybe equally important, we need to remember the same thing of others. As much as we shouldn’t put ourselves up on that high pedestal, we really should take others down from that height too.
We have been given grace and mercy. Why are we going to waste that by holding ourselves and others in contempt? That would be like having a fight with someone (husband) because you feel wronged (hormonal), to find out they didn’t mean to say it (you read way too much into it) but you still feel hurt (holding onto it to remind them of it later). Well, look at that – I have given you examples of both! Aren’t I just talented?
Here’s what you should take away from this: You will screw up. People around you will screw up. You have been given a gift (you know, something that is free) of mercy and grace; use it. Use grace and mercy daily for yourself and for others. Make a choice, and let it be a good one; a right one. Dwelling on your mistakes, giving and receiving forgiveness – it’s a choice that you have to make. Choose to come as you are because that’s what’s really wanted. I mean, yes, strive to be better; try to correct wrong behavior, but who you are (and you are not your mistakes) is who God wants.
I like you, and I don’t even know you (high praise, I know). Just think how much more you are liked by others.