I’m a mama so mistakes are an every, single day occurrence. My Fave and I joke that we want J and C to do whatever they want in life with only these two “rules”: 1) Never go to bed on Sunday with dread for the job you have to go to on Monday and 2) Be successful enough to afford the therapy required from having been raised by us. Ironically, I wrote this post about a week ago and just noticed that when I published it from my phone, the draft hadn’t updated from what I’d typed; yep, “Mistakes” and I are on a first name basis. So this is sort of a “Take 2”.
I’m also a perfectionist. My psych says that there are actually people who have a “born with” perfectionism personality. If that’s the case, I’m certain that spending nearly 13 years as a gymnast didn’t help my “condition”. “Perfect” is actually a thing to me and at a young age I was not only trained to attain it, but when anything other than “perfect” was the outcome, an almost obsessive repetition of practicing to correct the slightest error was the norm. What’s worse is that “perfect” comes at a somewhat subjective judgement of others . Add mental illness “ick” and, on a scale of 1 to 10, my people-pleaser score would be 100. For years, I believe in a God that ruled by judgement and punishment; it was a primary reason I left the Catholic Church as soon as being a part of it was no longer “required” of me. It’s also the reason that when my BFF “K” forced me into a new church she’d found, I sat crying ugly every Sunday because I’d never considered there was a God that not only loved my broken “ick”, He made me that way on purpose.
I spend a lot of time worrying about making mistakes and disappointing people, in certain circles. I also spend a lot of time apologizing, often for something I didn’t do but self-talk does a great job convincing me I most certainly did. I was in a meeting two weeks ago during which I got “passionate” about the issue of mental illness and some other issues in our school district. I’ve worked hard on my “passion” coming across as such, rather than the delivery being with a level of intensity that it makes my message less effective. I left that meeting feeling like my message got lost in my intensity and, as I drove to the next appointment on my calendar, I dictated an apology email to “Siri” that I intended to send to those in attendance. I left that appointment and went straight to the next and didn’t get a chance to edit the email to send it.
That next appointment was an initial meeting for a club that My Fave and I started at our middle school, intended to do Random Acts of Kindness around our building for students and staff by whatever students showed up for club meetings. In that first meeting, a student shared a little of her own struggles with some of the same stuff I struggle with. We weren’t supposed to meet the following week but we’d had a pretty good time together so we added a meeting on the fly. At that impromptu meeting, in an effort to get to know each other, we used My Intent’s “What’s Your Word?” conversation starters. My “friend” from the previous week was a little withdrawn, answered just a single question and then didn’t want to take part anymore. Another kiddo offered to answer two questions in their place: “How are you making a difference in this world?”. “I don’t really know; I’m not sure I really have a purpose here.” was the answer and then the withdrawn, “I don’t want to take part kiddo” said, “Hold on; this reminds me of a quote I found and kept.” She proceeded to share the words in the picture above and I added one more example of “He can do anything He wants” to my very long list.
“Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles He performs for people!”
God. Does. Not. Do. Mistakes. I wholeheartedly believe it was no accident I never got around to sending that email. In the last 12 days, one of the high schools in our district lost two students to mental illness; in October, our middle school lost a student to the same horrid disease. Knowing this is “my mountain”, I received many texts in the last 12 days. One sender thanked me for speaking up at the meeting earlier in the month. I replied that I appreciated her words because I left our last meeting thinking the 20 or so women in the room that day probably wished I would just shut up and that I left feeling I owed them an apology. I, none of us, should feel we should apologize for fighting for the stuff that we feel He made us to do. That WOULD be a mistake. I love that one of the very kiddos I sat in that meeting, got passionate on behalf of and would then meet for the first time a few hours later, would also be the one to remind me that God looked at all the wonders of what He created and decided the world needed one of “us” too.
The enemy does a really great job of telling us that our many battles, challenges, illnesses, mistakes, stumbles, insecurities, fears and more are proof we should be crushed by the weight of them. We should be ashamed and riddled with guilt. We should be embarrassed and hide them in the dark corners. We should keep quiet and suffer in silence. We should never pick up the sword and fight for someone else because it’s a waste of our time. We should never speak up for ourselves because we’re not that important. We should never consider using our voice in any way at all because we’re messed up, broken, pathetic examples of God’s creation. It’s simply not true – “Satan, take your seat in the back. Oh, and there is some duct tape back there – a ton of it actually – wrap it layer upon layer over your mouth.”
I’m not sure what made me look at this post this afternoon and realize that when I posted it previously, it was horribly incomplete. I am going to guess that, after feeling like my head might actually be above water for the first time in almost 2 weeks, He knew that I’d find myself still feeling submerged. In retrospect, it doesn’t seem an accident that the first three messages delivered via one of my Pandora stations this morning were “Burn the Ships” (For King and Country), “Do It Again” (Steven Furtick) and “I’ll Find You” (Lecrae w/ Tori Kelly): leave the shame behind and don’t look back, keep showing up and don’t you dare give up, and when you feel like it’s too much, just hold on and fight a little longer. No coincidences and no mistakes – not the business He’s ever been in.
Make mistakes. Make a lot of them. Let’s encourage our kids to make mistakes and love them through them. He never intended “perfect” to be in play for any of us. So let’s make mistakes and forgive ourselves (He already has) but refuse to ever believe the lie that our mistakes, in turn, make us a mistake. It is after all, pretty cool that He created all He did and still thought the world needed one of each of us. Be good to yourself, Warrior.♥
“How great you are, Sovereign Lord ! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” (2 Samuel 7:22)