I used to not forget anything.
Anything, that is, that had to do with events/times/dates/etc. I’d write things on our calendar, set timers, write sticky notes, and even text myself. My weird personality and subconscious would hold hands and swim around inside my brain, whispering reminders in my ear as I was going to sleep.
“Don’t forget about that family dinner next Friday. . . Remember to turn on the crockpot as soon as you wake up.”
It was a source of pride.
And then we had a baby.
He wouldn’t nap to a timer, and the sticky notes kept falling off him. I forgot about his two-month check-up until it was too late. I missed a scheduled phone call. I’d walk into a room and beg my brain to remember what I came in there for. I felt like even my strengths were slipping away because of this little person.
Which was good, because it started to challenge beliefs I never knew I had.
I used to think: Mistakes = Sin.
We are broken people living in a sin-stained world. This affects everything we do, including our mistakes. But that doesn’t mean every mistake is a sin.
My son is learning to drink milk from a cup. Sometimes it dribbles down his chin and splatters onto the table and floor. I don’t cry over it. And I don’t think Jesus cries over our spilled mistakes, either.
Before the Fall, Adam and Eve weren’t God. Even when we get to heaven, we won’t automatically know everything. We are human.
When mistakes are sin
Sometimes our mistakes do involve sin, though. It used to come naturally for me to feel guilty and abuse myself through my thoughts.
“Won’t you ever learn?”
“What’s your problem?”
It felt like some sort of penance. It was wrong.
Instead, God calls us to repent, ask for forgiveness (and the Spirit’s help), and then bask in the grace He offers because of Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus has paid the price for all my fallen-ness and sinful mistakes.
So what is the alternative? What should replace the feelings once heavy with guilt, the you’ll-never-be-good-enough accusations in my head?
Recently, I felt the Spirit prompting me to consider what would happen if we weren’t aware of our mistakes. What if we were perfect in our own eyes?
It brought to mind the phrase in Judges, where the people of Israel “did what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 17:6) When we think we have it all together, pride can creep in, and even unbelief (depending on myself for everything).
Here are three reasons why I’m glad God let’s me make mistakes.
When everything is going well, we say we have it all under control. But what exactly do we have under our control? A clean house? Obedient children? Appearances can be deceiving.
So many people don’t acknowledge that God is the One who gave them life, allows each breath, and orders the universe. If we don’t take moments to remember, we may start to look and live like them. We may start to think we can do life without Him if we can just organize, plan, and do better.
2. Opportunity to grow in humility
It’s always been hard for me to try things I don’t anticipate doing well at. (You can imagine what the gym class skills tests did to my insides.) Parenting is an everyday reminder of my need for Jesus. Sometimes the day is filled with mistakes, and sometimes it’s just plain messy.
At times, I feel like I’m kicking and screaming my way into sanctification. But it’s in those times of insufficiency, I see my own insignificance.
3. Time to focus on the perfection and all-consuming grace of our Father
I don’t have to be perfect. Jesus doesn’t expect it, so I shouldn’t either. God sent Jesus to live the perfect life so I don’t have to. He knew I never could.
No matter how many stifled laughs or raised eyebrows I encounter (or fear encountering), I can choose to accept the grace the Father longs to give me–no matter how many times I face-plant.