30 Days of Thanks | Day 6: Mistakes

You're never, EVER thankful for mistakes when you're in the midst of making them or even immediately right after it. Like, the day after, the month after, even perhaps the months and years after. Why? It's too painful, as if someone just sprinkled salt onto a freshly opened wound. I just really grossed myself out saying that. Further evidence that I was never meant to work in the medical field.

In thinking of things I'm thankful for, mistakes were obviously ranked waaay low on the totem of pole of subjects to write about, to express gratitude for. Reflecting on a few of them make my skin still crawl a little bit to this day. I was that kid who cringed to get a paper or assignment back in school and find nothing but red marks decorated generously across the incorrect answers or across the words of an essay I thought I poured enough effort into. I remember when I was a kid and made the mistake of thinking it was funny to call somebody "retarded" just because everyone else was doing it and I wanted to fit in. After getting in trouble for this, I learned that the words I casually threw around for fun could have a much harder and hurtful impact on someone else. Or that time I made the mistake of thinking I could wing it for a spelling bee competition, aka was too lazy to study and got my butt kicked after the first round after misspelling the word barracks. Learned the hard way that laziness and arrogant assumptions get you absolutely nowhere.

Growing older, mistakes were found in things beyond what a red marker could tangibly write on, stuff that was a little more serious - certain relationships, perhaps in regretful words that tumbled out,  even in a negative attitude eagerly burst forth that should have been restrained instead, certain choices in what occupied my time, etc. They go on and the list won't stop as I continue to live this life. And I'm learning to be ok with this. Slowly and at snail-paced/molasses speed, but learning.

My point? Mistakes simply suck but I can't deny it's profound effect on how they continue to help shape me as a person. Do I wish for mistakes? Hell no. In fact, in my tiny world, my secret wish is to never make mistakes anymore, to be as near perfect as possible...every day. I wish to take back, re-do many, many parts of my life just like the next person.

As self-absorbed and as gross as that sounds, I think deep down we all wish for perfection to some degree. It's kinda embarrassing and I'm super thankful that I don't have the ability God does to make things perfect. Because in essence, my idea of perfect also means that I wouldn't mature. A mistake-less existence would mean that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to grow.  It means that I wouldn't learn the crazy beauty of what it's like to be forgiven or to forgive, to let go, to have courage to speak up, to have the wisdom to stay silent. Mistakes teach my naturally impatient personality to wait. Mistakes prod at my heart to see bigger than what's immediately in front of me.

Do mistakes still make me cringe, cry, hide, and break down into that ugly hiccup-weeping where I can barely get a word out because of the tears running down my face and the snot plugging my ability to breathe? Yep. But for as long as God can continuously take my repeated mistakes, my cracks, imperfections, and turn them into something awesome and fill them with grace, I'll always end up just fine in the end. This is a truth for me that I fight hard to cling to every day.