Gratitude Day 576
Romans 4:6 – Even King David himself speaks to us regarding the complete wholeness that comes inside a person when God’s powerful declaration of righteousness is heard over our life. Apart from our works, God’s work is enough.
There is this underlying critic inside of me that often feels the need to do everything just right. To do my very best … and then some. To be as close to perfect as I can be.
I hope that I am humble enough to honestly know that I fail every day. I can’t do everything just right. My very best isn’t enough. And there is no way I can ever come close to being perfect.
While I have this head knowledge of all of this, no one is probably harder on me than myself. My expectations for myself are high. Possibly too high because there becomes little wiggle room for failure. Disappointment. Mistakes.
Professionally, much of my work is such that others can read and see and hear what I do. And of course, this means others can hear and see and read my mistakes. Like the time the headline of an ad read “diary” instead of “dairy.” Nope, spell check doesn’t catch these mistakes. Neither did I or the several other people who saw the ad before it was printed. Or when the wrong year was included on the cover of an annual catalog. This time, it was a customer who pointed this out … after the catalog was printed. I hired a professional editor to review my book before it was published. Nonetheless, when copies were made available to folks to read in advance and write a review about the book, countless mistakes were found. Thankfully, these were discovered before the book was officially printed.
You have witnessed too many of my mistakes. When I see, hear or discover them, I get this disappointed feeling in my tummy that says, “You messed up again.”
There are the times when I didn’t make time to do something and then it became too late. And the times when I said something that unknowingly offended or hurt someone. I’ve learned the hard way that making fun of another person isn’t funny.
Mistakes happen for lots of reasons. I didn’t take the necessary time. I pushed through when I was tired. I was distracted and multi-tasking rather than focusing on one thing at a time. I don’t think before I speak. The list goes on and on and on.
When I make a mistake that affects another person, I really try to say “I’m sorry” right away. My policy has been to acknowledge wrong, take responsibility for it and be sincere when apologizing. Do I always do this? No. But I feel that accepting responsibility is important. Sometimes, folks think they are not fully responsible and therefore, it’s not necessary to apologize. Yep, I have been in this situation countless times. But when I can acknowledge at least my role, then hopefully any hurt that has happened can begin to be repaired.
The person I have the most challenge in forgiving when there is disappointment or a mistake? Myself. Those big mistakes can haunt me for a long time … and often have. I’m asked for forgiveness. I know God has move beyond my failure. Yet, I can get stuck focusing on where I failed rather than maybe where there was good.
If you are also this person, please know that God feels you are enough. What you do or try to do doesn’t have to be perfect in God’s eyes. Our application is going to fail over and over and over. God is often much more grace-filled than we are.
This gives me hope that I am enough. My mistakes can be corrected by God. I just need the humility to know that life is a journey and to stay on this journey, guided by God.
Most of us can think of a person or two (possibly more) who walk through life with little desire to accept responsibility for when they have made a mistake. Or a poor choice. It can be initially easier to shift blame to someone else. I struggle when this happens and often want to call the person out. I know there have been times when I have … and it always hasn’t been a positive or helpful exercise. And so, I try to keep in mind that it’s not my role to figure out forgiveness and disappointment for this person. If God can accept them warts and all, then I must try too as well. Even if I’m not crazy about their choices. Most likely they aren’t crazy about mine as well.
On this day during this Lenten season, I pray that we can seek and find forgiveness from God for our errors, mistakes and missteps. Even if this hurt happened a while ago, we can go back to the one who we’ve disappointed and ask for forgiveness. Express our sincere apology and then let it go.
As we let it go, it’s also time we forgive ourselves. Failing isn’t fun. Admitting our mistakes is terribly humbling. When we are able to get right and real about them, there is also the great opportunity for growth.
King David was often revered as a true person of God. He was chosen over countless others to be the king and took this responsibility seriously. While David saw himself as chosen to serve in this way, even he struggled and made poor choices. He saw another man’s wife and longed for her. When his relationship with Bathsheba turned from bad to worse, he tried to fix it. When his good friend Nathan saw what was happening, he finally went to King David and called him out on it. I doubt this was a pleasant or easy conversation. It took a ridiculous amount of confidence in God for Nathan to do this. Yet, through this, King David saw his mistakes. Began to acknowledge the hurt and disappointment he had caused. He turned to God, asked for forgiveness. We have his written confession in Psalm 51.
If you struggle with forgiveness, turn to this psalm. Read King David’s words and pick out the ones that you want to make your words. God continued to use King David in God’s kingdom. God can and will continue to use you. I pray we allow ourselves the opportunity to be used.
For the Lenten season as a time to reflect upon my mistakes, disappointments and need for forgiveness, I am grateful.
Lord God – in this season of Lent, we are encouraged to do the hard work of looking deep into our hearts and souls and see where we keep ourselves from fully loving You. Often, it’s tied up in our need to ask for forgiveness, whether from You or another people. Please forgive us for those hurtful things that we have done. May my heart be filled with your grace and acceptance. Through your example and witness, may I also forgive myself, even when I find this challenging. Amen.
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