Maybe you, like me, regularly find yourself thinking, “I wish that I didn’t make that stupid mistake.” Trust me this is what I do all the time. On my first exam at Bible college I read the question wrong and instead of answering the question “What is the significance of Elijah’s ministry?” I wrote on the significance of Elisha’s ministry, I had the wrong dude.
Not so long ago I made another big mistake. I didn’t check my academic transcript and told the world that I had graduated from my degree. Truth be told I still had two units to complete. After going on a holiday, celebrating with friends, having gifts given to me and a big announcement in front of our whole church, 150 odd people, I discovered that I hadn’t finished. What do I do now? I felt shameful. I know I’ll have to tell everyone. I will have to face study again and pick myself up from this shocking blow.
Here is what I did and would encourage anyone to do in failure:
- Take Responsibility – blaming others may feel good to start with, however we must own the problem as our own no matter who else was involved.
- Take It Lightly – people take themselves so seriously and can get depressed from the most simple things. Mistakes aren’t final.
- Take Action – your circumstances aren’t going to change by you sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t try to change the world, just begin doing something intentionally to recover from your loss.
- Take Stock – ask the hard questions of, what went wrong? How would I do things differently? What would it take to both, fix the current problem, and safe guard yourself for the future?
- Take it to God – There is a God who gives us grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He forgives us of our mistakes and was beaten for them. If we can’t let go of our mistakes we undermine the very grace that was given to us. We don’t need to beat ourselves because Jesus was beaten on our behalf. It is because of this we don’t have to live in guilt, shame and bondage to our situations.
Take heart, and keep getting up.