How Mistakes Can Make You Sick…and What to Do about It
Confession is good for the soul and bad for the reputation. Well, my cheeks are burning. I messed up BIG time. I wrote a speaking event on the wrong date. I remember being happy I was free to do this event. I love this group. After booking and beginning to promote the conference something made me check the dates. To my horror the conference overlapped a retreat I’m doing!
What do you do when you royally blow it? First, I feel ashamed. Next denial sets in. The night I discovered my blunder, I kept searching my communications hoping I was reading something wrong. Surely, this is a sign-up deadline, not the event date.
Then I look for someone to blame. Since I have no assistant, that wasn’t an option. I couldn’t even blame God. I was the one who’d blown it.
At this point I was feeling so remorseful I was willing to scrub toilets for a year. But nothing could undo my mistake.
This experience caused me to consider what I know to be true in spite of awful feelings. I hope it will help you when you goof up.
- Problem: Shame—Feeling contrition is healthy; wallowing in shame is not. Shame keeps us self-absorbed and grumpy. It makes us want to quit and hide.
- Antidote: “I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed” (Psalms 34:4-5, NASB). Looking to the Lord reminded me my righteousness and acceptance are not based on my performance but on Jesus’ performance. I have the righteousness of Christ!
- Problem: Blame—Searching for a scapegoat doesn’t right the mistake. It makes us helpless victims.
- Antidote: “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance” (Proverbs 28:13, NIV). We must humbly own our mistakes. When I did, my friends were gracious with me. Even if the one we’ve wronged doesn’t respond well, we must still do right.
- Problem: Destructive self-talk— Accusations from our three-fold enemy:the world, the flesh, and the devil, berate us and try to keep us trapped in shame. “How could you be so stupid? What is wrong with you?”
- Antidote: “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has forgiven us and given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? Will Christ? No! For he is the one who died for us and came back to life again for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us there in heaven” (Romans 8:33-34, TLB). “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11, NASB). We are to consider ourselves dead to these taunts and loved by God. Nothing, not even our mistakes and sin, can separate those in Christ Jesus from the love of God.
Like insect bites, emotional stings distract and may linger a while. But if we apply the balm of God’s truth, they soon subside. By faith we thank God for His promise to cause “all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NASB).
I’m choosing to trust Him to use my blunder for His glory and for the good of all who love Him. What helps you come back after you mess up?
I hope to see those in Cary, NC this week at our Give Yourself a Break event!
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Debbie W. Wilson