My daughter writes a blog about crafting. As part of her blog, she takes numerous photos, posting the "how-to" images for those who might like to make something she has created. It is a tremendous blog. A few years ago when she undertook this endeavor, she began the process of posting these photos without realizing how much "space" they would occupy in her storage, the advantages to various forms of "naming" the photos, etc. She didn't know what she didn't know. Ever been there? I think we all have. Yesterday, she posted something about the hours and hours of work it was taking to "archive" her posts / photos and the necessary work of renaming some of them in order to aid in those interested in "searching" for various projects. Obviously, she was frustrated with the "re-investment" of time this was taking - time which could have been spent engaging in other creative work. I quickly messaged her back a short answer to her frustration: "You learn from mistakes, not because you never make them." Maybe this is a lesson we can all take to heart today.
If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others. (Proverbs 28:26 MSG)
Simply defined, a mistake is an error in calculation, action, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, and sometimes insufficient knowledge. We all make them! No one is immune. It is what we do with our mistakes which really matter, isn't it? Looking at the reasons for "making" mistakes as poor reasoning, carelessness, and/or insufficient knowledge, we can actually begin to see how we make them. For example, if I choose the shiniest toy on the shelf without considering the quality with which it is constructed, I may have a shiny new toy, but it may not last for very long. If I choose to express my opinion without thinking through the ramifications of where I share it, with whom it is shared, and what I am saying, the consequences can be devastating, right? So, poor reasoning leads to errors in judgment, a lack of forethought leads to costly investments, and just plain not knowing accounts for a whole lot of headaches, doesn't it?
Our writer reminds us of the danger of thinking we are above making mistakes. A word to the wise - no one is above making mistakes, BUT we can get to the point where we are no longer learning from them! Sometimes we make mistakes by pure oversight - we just didn't "tune in" well enough to really consider our actions, words, thoughts, etc. The "mistake" happened almost because we didn't tune in, not because we intended to engage in risky behavior. Truth be told, most of us make mistakes because we have such an oversight - we don't deliberately set out to make them. Some of the time, we do engage in risky behavior - for the thrill of it, because it brings us prestige of some kind, or just because there is something appealing to us. When we pursue "risky" behavior or courses of action just because we want a thrill, hope to gain some attention, or the blatant disregard for well-defined rules, we are truly just magnifying the risky behavior to a place of even greater risk for us in the end.
Men and women of wisdom learn both from their own mistakes and those of others. We do very little learning in life by avoiding our own errors. If you have ever learned math, you know this to be true! No one just magically taught you to reason through those word problems, sail through the division of fractions, or calculate the angle of the triangle. In fact, you probably got back some papers with red marks on them, pointing out your "mistakes"! You made the mistake, corrected it, and learned to solve the "problem" a different way. Isn't this what life is really like - we make the mistakes, realize they need correction, and then learn to "solve the problem" a completely different way than we ever knew possible? Fortunately, my daughter's "mistake" with her photos is a minor problem - costing her a little investment of time which she would rather have avoided - but a simple "fix". There are all kinds of mistakes we make in life with a "higher price" affixed to them, aren't there? These are the ones involving miscalculations, really poor reasoning leading to really poor choices, and sometimes just not being any the wiser about the path we were taking. These "cost" us in the end.
If we understand the "root" of the problem (miscalculation, poor reasoning, or insufficient knowledge), we might just be able to avoid the costly mistakes in life. If we have already made them, there is something we need to avail ourselves of more than anything else - grace. Grace wipes the slate clean. Grace gives us the ability to move beyond our mistakes and to "start again". It is a good thing to learn to avoid mistakes in the first place, but it is equally grand to know when we make them, grace abounds! I didn't say "if" we make them, I said "when" we make them. As long as we take breath on this earth, I think we bear the potential for making mistakes. Just good to know God's grace is there when we need it! Just sayin!