“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
We are just two weeks into a new year and I’ve made a conscious and aggressive decision to learn from my past mistakes by taking action in areas of weakness. Where have I been less than stellar in 2014? God graciously stuck a flood light on two:
I know there are more (like procrastination, pride, selfishness, yada-yada), but I felt strongly that until I completely tackle these two areas of weakness with gusto, I will enter 2015 repeating patterns that hold me back, rather than progressing forward.
Thankfully, I’m catching it now! Outward appearances may not clue many into the fact that I feel unhealthy, or that my bookkeeping skills are in a chaotic state of disaster. It is only in the deep recesses of my soul where I must admit, bad habits will runaway on me if I don’t address these two issues.
Only you can answer where the mistakes are being made in your life.
Our weaknesses and faults aren’t usually as obvious as lipstick across the face, but where we fail to propel ourselves forward is in the shame and perfectionism that haunts us.
All we do is focus on the mess, but rarely take focused action toward change.
My prayer for your 2015 is to ferociously choose better! To take action, but to also offer yourself grace in order to move on.
I say it this way in my book, The Chance to Choose:
“What do I do with the mess I’ve made?”
When my daughter was about four-years-old, she would endlessly draw and create beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, she developed some perfectionist tendencies from her mother. Often, she’d begin with her brand new 64 count box of Crayolas™ and a blank piece of paper full of promise and aspiration. All too soon, though, her crayon would produce something she hadn’t intended. It always seemed to happen when she colored the princesses lips and the point wasn’t quite sharp enough. The lips were always her favorite part of the picture and in her mind, the most important. If there was the slightest departure from the line, in anger, frustration, and tears she’d crumple up the page before I could help her fix it, leaving me disheartened as well.
Our lives can be like those ruined pages.
We start out with a picture in our mind and somehow, through a series of choices, or maybe one fatal stroke of the brush, we’ve ruined what we intended for our lives.
Or we failed to notice anything for 30 years, and when we finally stop to take a look, we wonder whose drawing we’ve been scribbling over. We’ve tried to cover up the mistakes with more complications and commitments, but things are beginning to catch up. We never really knew we were coloring outside the lines.
But on good days, my daughter would let me work with her little fingers in order to fix the lips on her princess picture. She’d surrender her stubbornness and ask for help. Many times, we made it look better, filling my own heart with joy.
God wants to guide your hand like that, too, but so often we don’t seek His help.
We crumple up the mess and stuff it in the bottom of the trash can. Even the moments when my daughter surrendered her will and let me help fix the lips, we both knew the picture wasn’t what she originally intended. The result was always under par.
But that is not how God fixes things. Jesus doesn’t just patch up our lives. He doesn’t just “make do,” He “makes new!” He wants to do something fresh with your life, but He’ll use whatever you have—whatever picture you’ve already painted—and use it for a picture you never conceived. He is in the business of restoring and redeeming what was lost.
One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing.” 8 Another one is Joel 2:25, “I will repay you the years the locusts have eaten.”9
I can remember driving along I-5, gazing at all the lights of Seattle, when I’d been a Christian for only two years. I didn’t realize the fade from grace toward legalism then, but that was about the time I began to enter the desert. For two years, I’d heard plenty of “perfection” stories of little girls giving their lives to God as three-year-olds while both parents tucked them into bed. Their years were lived devoted to God, so unlike my own, and everything about their story made me feel a little soiled. I remember thinking, as I sat in the passenger seat looking over the Emerald City, so far from the small patch of grass on Erie Drive: How will I ever get this right? I have too much luggage. I’ll never be like the women I see at church.
Today, I thank God I’m not.
He has given me back ten-fold what the locusts had eaten, and I’ve discovered that it is among women with opened boxes and messed up places where I feel most at home. I have made it my life mission, through Chicks with Choices™, to create experiences for women who need safety as they learn to uncover their own unique path. In doing so, I am fulfilling my own true ancient paths.
Don’t crumple up your picture. Lose the perfection.
My daughter has. She grew up running around in mismatched clothes, singing in church with magic marker embedded onto her cheek, and hair that needed washing. Now that she’s a teenager, she’s more aware, but she’s also very comfortable with herself. I am beginning to see her unique story unfold. She’s vibrant and has moments of pure, beautiful abandon!
Your life is so much more important than pretty lips.
Need to get your life in order? A journey through The Jeremiah Method™ may be just what you need to begin this new year choosing the right steps. You can order your signed copy today, by visiting my online store, or find the eBook version on Kindle, Nook, or Apple iBook by searching The Chance to Choose. You can also view my book trailer by visiting my YouTube account.
“Kim Galgano has burst onto the scene to crush the safe, complacent, and luke-warm Christian life by challenging us to linger, look, and question until we finally uncover, through our own unique circumstances, a deeper encounter with God. Don’t read The Chance to Choose unless you are ready to be changed.” Nancy Stafford, Actress, Speaker, and Author of The Wonder of His Love: A Journey Into to Heart of God and Beauty by the Book: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You.
Photo Credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)