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  • Jane Wheeler

Odd Voice of Reason

X = mistake

I am eavesdropping: I am listening to a person talk about making mistakes and how afraid he is of making them and from my vantage point, knowing his life cycle, he actually is really stuck. He is afraid to change jobs, to change houses, to move to another town, to trust God, or to really start living. It strikes me as sad. He wants so much for himself but is too afraid to go get it.

He even asked the question to the other person he was talking to: Doesn’t it bother you if you make a mistake?

I used to be afraid of making mistakes and I even made another huge one this morning. Did I beat myself up? Of course! Did I let it ruin my day? No but it did upset my stomach because stress tends to do that. I do find mistakes can be stressful, but I have learned not to fear them!

I called it what it was – a huge mistake, error, misjudgement on my part and asked for forgiveness. I pray for the grace of that person to extend grace to me for my mistake, which they did – Bless them!

Was it embarrassing? Yes

Do I like it? Absolutely No

Did it paralyze me? No

Was it the end of the world? No

So many of things in life are ruined because of mistakes and perhaps I can ad miscommunication – which is also a mistake. Miscommunication usually goes like this:

I think you said this; but you yourself think you actually said that and if I do not ask you what you meant, I may never know and assume the worst. Both people mistaken.

I remember how hard the students were on themselves in the library if they made a mistake – I was probably the odd voice of reason that said – “That’s okay! What did you learn when you did that?”

Why are we so afraid when we make mistakes? Why is this fellow so afraid to start living? I used to tell my staff working for me that I fully expect them to make mistakes and they could certainly count on me making my fair share. I told them that if they made a mistake to come to me as soon as they realized it and we would problem solve it together. People, kids, life is so much free-er when we know mistakes are allowed.

Mistakes do not require punishment, but they do require consequences and the two are entirely different. If I punish you, I am taking away your dignity – God never punishes us for a mistake.

Oh, He disciplines us at times, but with mistakes, He is more than willing to let us endure the consequences. Consequences and mistakes go hand in hand.

For instance:

I break a glass while pulling the dishes out of the dishwasher. I clean up the mess - consequence.

I thought the car was in drive but it was in reverse - oops. Consequence.

I thought I had filled the car up when my hubby asked me to. Consequence – breaking down by the side of the road.

I looked up some quotes about mistakes to leave you with and there are some good ones:

Your past mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you

The only permanent mistake is the one you did not learn from

Learn from your mistakes instead of giving up and never trying again

Embrace imperfection – life is a process driven by practice

You are going to make mistakes and it is okay!

Experience is making mistakes

Making mistakes is better than faking perfection!

And my fav:

Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a good deal of time making it!

In the words of the movie “Frozen” : Let it Go!

Move on, Learn from it and Grow and let your kids and others make mistakes too - it is called "life".

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