Ohhh my… it seems like the older I get, the wiser I get, but the more mistakes I make. Sometimes they’re little tiny bloopers that, in the grand scheme of things, really don’t make any type of difference. Like stubbing my toe or having a grammatical error in a blog post or school assignment or forgetting something was due. (I have been getting SO forgetful lately- keeping lists and setting reminders have become my best friends!!!) But as I’m becoming an adult, sometimes the mistakes I make are really big ones that actually change things… mistakes that alter beautiful things that were otherwise okay, and that should have stayed okay without my interfering and messing up. Life is hard. And it’s unfair. And sometimes things get blown out of proportion that probably shouldn’t have but they do anyway because that’s just how the cookies have crumbled. (Bruce Almighty reference… anyone?!) Sometimes a mistake is made in just the right moment where things then proceed to go terribly, terribly wrong and enter into a new irreparable state that will forever be different from the way they were before. But these are all things we already know right? You don’t need me to tell you the definition of a mistake and just how bad things can go because you’ve probably already experienced the damage yourself firsthand. So let’s get to the real heart of this conversation here. This summer I made a mistake… a bad one… and I’m still grasping how to cope with the new reality I’m living in because of it. I’m slowly learning how not to make that kind of mistake again and how to adjust to the changes that the mistake brought upon me (or really, the changes I brought upon myself). It’s an ongoing process, as are most valuable lessons in life, and it hasn’t been fun. But here’s what I’ve learned so far for what to do when you’ve made a really, REALLY big mistake.
~ Accept (and admit) that you did something wrong. You’re not perfect, so please don’t pretend to be or hold yourself to that standard. We are all SO flawed and when someone tries to act like they’re not, people can see RIGHT THROUGH that facade. So the first step for me was swallowing my pride and admitting I was wrong. For this specific screw up, I really didn’t have a hard time admitting it was my fault… I knew I messed up and there kinda wasn’t any way to hide it. But verbalizing “I was wrong, and I’m sorry” is the toughest battle that most people fight. Whether it’s out of pride, fear, denial, or delusion… you eventually have to come to terms with what you did and, to put it bluntly, get over yourself. Just say you messed up!!! That’s half the battle! And the weight that’s lifted off of your shoulders after you take that step is IMMENSELY worth it! And then you can move on to Step #2!
~ Forgive yourself. I know. I know. Words can’t even describe how difficult this is. Just breathe. You’re still alive, and you still have a life to be lived and lived passionately and with love. So at least you’ve still got that. And although you may think you’ve been changed by this mistake alone, you’re constantly and continually being made anew, into a new person by forgiveness from someone else, even if you haven’t forgiven yourself. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Lest we not forget… “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” People will always talk and have their opinions regardless of what you do. So remember that the only opinion that matters at the end of the day is God’s. And He’s already forgiven you. And even though there may be some aftermath to deal with, there are ways to ease the sting…
~ Deal with the consequences, and lessen the blow by SHARING YOUR STORY. Just think… if you could stop someone from going through what you’re going through because of your mistake… wouldn’t you want to save someone from the same fate? The same pain and heartbreak you’re going through? Sometimes I feel like the only remedy to my brokenness is to bust the doors wiiddde open and just let others ALL the way in to see my brokenness in its full glory and share what I’ve learned and how I’m better because of it. It’s like there’s this sense of liberty when you no longer have to hide. And that’s the truth. “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Ohh there’s nothing like letting your guard down and ceasing the show and just becoming REAL. A real, live, living, breathing person that screws up just like the rest of us. People. Will. LOVE. You. For. That. Because in that moment you’re no longer some unattainably perfect persona. They might obsess over and worship that version of you. But they won’t genuinely LOVE you until you’re real and raw and bleeding with truth. Because only in that moment that you open up and accept that you need salvation is when you’ll receive it. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” People may absolutely hate you for the mistakes you’ve made. But you will ALWAYS have love being poured into your life and flowing through your veins if you know where to find it.
Well, I’m feeling pretty convicted after telling you what to do to actually go ahead and do it myself. So, here goes. Watch your words. They truly, truly do hold the power and life and death in so many ways. You can give life to a friendship or you can put it on the executioner’s block. Don’t drunk text. Don’t do anything while drunk. Actually, just don’t get drunk. That’s probably best in 9 out of 10 scenarios. And make good choices… every action you take adjusts your course down a certain path… and it’s good to evaluate where you’re headed every now and then, and how the way you’re living could be affecting that direction. We may never be perfect in this life, but if we are actually intentional about everything we say and do, things will begin to look so much closer to the way God intended them to be. But in the end, whether you like it or not, that’s how it’s going to be anyway, because we press on in life, swimming against the current, fighting the good fight because of this truth:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”