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Guided Mistakes

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24)

I don’t know about you, but I hate making mistakes. Some mistakes are “fun” learning experiences. Others may be eureka moments. At times I feel like my mistakes need some massive corrective tape. The best ones though? The ones I’d started nicknaming as “guided mistakes”. These are the ones that you think you know, you’re sure you know God said go for it…and then somehow you realize that it’s definitely not working out. While you’re in them, it’s like swimming in a sea of mud. But looking back, you can see how God’s guided you through – and then it becomes a story about His faithfulness.

For me, the one I can see clearest in my head was agreeing to stay on with missions. I was sure I’d heard God correctly. I’d found a mentor who was a missionary scientist doing research that kind of played into my strengths. Three of my roommates were coming back to staff as well. The bosun of the ship had done missions with my brother years back in Samoa. In other words, “I saw the signs.” All that was left was for me to do was to take care of some things back home, and find a job that would help with the financing on my end.

The funny thing is, I’d always felt a little bit of anxiety over it all. And it just kept getting stronger and stronger and stronger the longer and longer it took to find a job. It wasn’t until I reluctantly emailed the team and said, “You guys, I think I made a mistake; I think I’m not going back this year” that I got call backs and jobs opened up, among other things.

The lie that I’d somehow picked up was that it’s not OK to make any mistakes. Avoid them at all cost. And in some ways it’s true; some mistakes can be catastrophes. However, when you start letting fear of mistakes dictate your next step, then you aren’t really living life like you’re in God’s perfect love – which non-coincidentally – drives out all fear. Making the verse a bit more personal: “Though you may stumble, you won’t fall…for the Lord upholds you with his hand.” Not that this gives you a free pass to run around willy-nilly. You must delight in Him; in that context comes the rest of it.

Miel can be reached via email here.

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