Saturday, July 24, 2021

Mistakes

Mistakes


We all make them. Typically a day does not go by without us making some form of a mistake in our day to day lives. Some mistakes we make were a result of poor decision making on our part, some are a result of us not paying attention to what we are doing and some mistakes we make are a result of us being unwilling to acknowledge certain truths in our own life. At the end of the day, mistakes are inevitable. We will make mistakes for the rest of our lives….sorry I don’t mean to be a downer, but it’s just the simple truth. I realize I have written about mistakes before but this is what I have been thinking about recently so that’s what I am going to write about haha.


So what does this mean for us and our walk with God? What does this mean in terms of our coaching, training or athletics? What does this mean in terms of our own personal development? It means that even though we know mistakes are going to be made, the only things WE as individuals will ALWAYS have control over is how we respond when we make those mistakes.


We will go through life and we will make what we consider are “big mistakes” and “little mistakes”. We will say the wrong thing at the wrong time, we will respond without love towards others, we will make choices out of selfishness and pride and we will do many other things that have the potential to pull us away from God and from others. The true victory is not in limiting the number of mistakes we make (although I do think it’s important to strive for that), but it is in how we choose to respond after making those mistakes. 


The world wants to define people by the mistakes they have made. In today’s media, all we tend to hear about is what people are doing wrong. So by default I think it is pretty natural for us as humans to do the same. It’s easy for us to look at our lives and define ourselves by the mistakes we have made. Whether that be intentional or unintentional, I think many people tend to look at themselves through the lens of what mistakes they have made and that is one way of how they limit themselves in what they believe they are capable of.


God views us so different from that. God looks at us through the lens of Jesus and I believe that is the lens he wants us to view ourselves from. Trust me when I tell you, I have such a hard time with this! Maybe some of you can relate but I feel as though I am always my own worst critic and that I, of all people, am completely undeserving of anything good that has comes my way. It’s easy for me to look at my past sin or my past mistakes and to put myself in the box of being defined only by those things.


Guilt runs very deep in my heart at times and it’s hard to process. I feel as though it is my responsibility to feel the guilt of every poor decision I have ever made and that I should hold onto that guilt in order to “keep myself humble”. I have learned over the years that this is just one form of my pride being displayed through a false sense of humility. I feel as though if I can get myself to feel guilty enough for a mistake I have made then that is my way of showing God that I am sorry for what I did. I realize that this does not line up with how God describes His grace. I recognize that this is not the way God wants me to handle and view my mistakes but this tends to be my default. 


This is one of my all time favorite scriptures in the Bible because it reminds me of why my imperfections are what draw me towards God. 


“Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:6-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Paul struggles here as he refers to this “thorn in my flesh”, he doesn’t tell us exactly what it is but we know that it is something that attempts to pull him away from God. He refers to it as a “messenger of Satan that was sent to torment him”. He begs God to take it away, he doesn’t want to deal with the stumbling block that potentially could keep him away from God. Instead of God just removing that thorn, he decides to remind Paul that His Grace is sufficient.


Upon reading this, I know one of my first reactions was something along the lines of being upset with God. Why wouldn’t God just take away this thorn? Paul was doing so many great things for God’s Kingdom. He was converting so many people and bringing so much glory to God’s name, why wouldn’t he just help Paul out with this? It just seems fair that God would help Paul out in this way. Obviously, God sees the bigger picture a lot more clearly than we do and he understands what we need far better than we ever could.


God wants us to understand that it is only God’s grace that gives us the opportunity to know him. He wants us to understand that it is through our weakness that His name can be glorified. No amount of works or service could ever earn us this grace. No amount of guilt that we feel or that we put ourselves though could give us access to this grace. No amount of good deeds could allow us to see God. Our strength doesn’t come from within us on our own, it must come from the grace God has gifted us. We only truly understand his grace when we are in a position of weakness and he is the only strength we have to stand on.


This will be a lifelong learning process for me. Coming from a mindset of how everything I receive has to be earned in some way makes it hard to wrap my mind around God’s grace. I want his grace to simply push me towards gratitude. Considering all that he has given me in his Grace can put me in the frame of mind to simply live a life of gratitude. When I am reminded of God’s grace in my life, I can always be brought back to gratitude and not guilt. God wants us to experience gratitude from grace. I don’t believe His goal is to push us anywhere towards guilt. Gratitude will always be a bigger motivator than guilt could ever be.


We apply this to coaching and athletics by understanding that mistakes are a part of the learning process. When we understand that there is always something more to learn and that the game is much bigger than ourselves, then we can allow ourselves to make mistakes and grow from them. So many of us approach our game with the mindset of “make sure I make the fewest mistakes possible” which I believe has its place in the mind of an athlete at times but if every time we step on the court or the field that is all we are thinking about, then we are missing out on a lot of the growth that we could be having. We get so afraid of making mistakes that we end up not putting our full effort into things. We do things half speed and half hearted because we know we can do that without messing anything up. We are afraid of what others will say when we mess up. We worry about how will appear towards others. We concern ourselves with things that are quite honestly…..not that important.


This mentality stifles our growth because we aren’t giving ourselves the room to grow. If we don’t take our training seriously or we don’t push our limits for what we believe to be possible for ourselves then we will never know the possibilities of what could have been. This is a daily battle that I fight to remind myself of. I will not allow my fear of failure to determine my effort or my attitude. No one is saying this is easy, but I am just trying to tell you the truth!









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