It’s winter. Which means rain in our drought-prone city. It never fails that as the first rain drops fall, the whole city forgets how to drive, and whines about weather as we stand in supermarket check-out lines.
Changes in routine like this can lead to some pretty silly mistakes. Like choosing to go running when it looks like the rain has stopped (but we wouldn’t really know how to confirm this since we’re a city of rain morons).
My favorite place to run is a near-by lake. It’s inspiring, refreshing, and the perfect distance around. Dog and I run while my daughter rides her bike around the lake each weekend. It’s a great time together. I thought the only thing bad about running the lake was the gnats. Turns out that is not true. But I did learn a few things:
- Dogs don’t like rain dumping from the sky.
- Or being bombarded with 1/2 inch hail stones
- Or running around a lake with no shelter when 1 or 2 happens
- And neither do 8 year old daughters, who have post traumatic stress issues from early life in foster care.
Yours might not be weather-related blunders, but we all make mistakes. Some are minor and irritating. Others are devastating to us or those we love. In the midst of those moments, how will we handle our mistakes?
Take responsibility for whatever you’ve done. Otherwise one mistake automatically becomes two. It’s hard as a parent to own up, especially when we struggle with insecurity and guilt that we’re not doing a good enough job as a parent. But when we take responsibility for our choices and actions we demonstrate wisdom, and have more opportunities to reconnect with whoever we’ve affected. It also saves us time, because we can more quickly make things right instead of floundering in denial. And, even better, our honesty helps us avoid making the same mistakes later.
Learn from them
Mistakes are great teachers. In fact, many brilliant people staunchly believe we learn more from them than from our successes in life! What are the mistakes you’ve made recently trying to teach you? How can you grow in that knowledge? What will you do differently next time? And be careful of thoughts that SEEM like learning, but really represent shutting down to people and opportunities in the future. Things like “I learned never to trust people again.” That kind of “learning” will just lead to many more mistakes over time!
Recognize the value of experience
A lot of mistakes come from trying something new, or some new way of approaching an old issue. Be courageous and decide you’re going to relish the experience you’ve had through your mistakes. Even if it was a truly painful or tragic thing at the time, there are probably precious jewels of experience you gained because of them. As my friend recently said, “Erasing [all our mistakes] would just leave a blank space — that’s not very interesting.” So treasure the results of your mistakes. And give yourself a little credit for trudging through the work it took to get them. It makes you who you are – a unique, beautiful creation who God loves with all His heart.
Get over them
We make mistakes. It’s what makes us human. We can spend a lifetime stewing over them, beating ourselves up, or we can cut ourselves some slack, apologize to those we’ve hurt, make amends, and move along. There’s nothing to gain in wallowing here except a waste of a life. And fearing making our next mistake is almost as bad. As Elbert Hubbard says, “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” So decide to walk through, learn from, absorb the experience and move past your mistakes. Life’s too short not to!
Where are you at with your own mistakes recently? What do you need to be able to handle them better?
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