The Grace to Recover from a Mistake

It is so easy to assume superhuman status today. In a world where instant gratification reigns, it is telling the ways in which individuals present themselves. Whether it is projecting a persona of the person in your head, or declaring to be one way while silently another, there will come a time when we all must face reality. What I mean is that there is a moment when the fat lady has sung and the tune she carried will cause a confrontation with your contradictions.

If you’re anything like me, you probably are your worst critic. It’s one thing for others to make a mistake and you encourage them through their process, but when you make the mistake it’s like the whole world ends. Not that someone else makes you feel bad, but because you know better you might internalize as such. However, what many internal reasoners don’t realize is that there is grace for your mistakes.

  1. You have to realize that you are human in an imperfect world. While this may sound cliché and I happen to cringe when people say, “You’re human” as if to give a slap on the wrist, it is true! Perfection, while many desire it, it not entirely possible. There will be moments when you behave in a way that is beneath who you are called to be. But, we must realize that God has put systems in place to help you recover.
  2. Forgive yourself. Perhaps the most difficult thing to do when people make a mistake. Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves that we have difficulty with forgiveness. We can however forgive others if we are willing, but forgiving ones self  stops the healing process. In order to move forward in life, you must learn the art of self forgiveness. This process can look different for each person, but it is necessary if you hope to move past the decision.
  3. Acknowledge the decision. This one still trips me up sometimes. If I can be honest, it’s easy to say that we made a mistake, but the reality is that we made a decision. While the end result might have been regretful, the act was nevertheless a choice. We have to be honest about this portion because if we don’t then we stagnate ourselves in areas that need active motion.
  4. Be honest about your truth.  For those of us who like to look like we’ve got it all together this will be humbling. Being honest about your shortcomings or even less than beautiful decisions is hard. Perhaps you have people who look up to you that you feel will be let down if you admit your truth. Maybe you are a leader and fell short in an area. Yet, the truth remains that in order to recover you must be honest. Sometimes we are so afraid to tell people what we struggle with in fear that we will be judged, but the reality is that we imprison ourselves to the expectations and ideas of others while they go on with their lives. How unfortunate is that? Being honest does not just allow others to take you off the pedestal that they set you on, but it allows you to be set free. Trust me, the pedestal isn’t really worth it!!
  5. Recovery time. You have to have a quick recovery time. In the past, I struggled with this one. I would spend months internalizing a situation that was long and gone. I would literally check out of reality because the world in my mind was more real though long gone. If you do this then you will learn that you are in the same place of your last action. If you don’t recover well enough, fast enough then you will not move past your actions.

In short, God has graced us with the ability to recover from our mistakes. In fact, he knew that we would make them, but we have to take the necessary steps to move forward. The steps are not always easy, but they are required if we ever hope to live past the moments that we settled in the past.

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