Last Sunday we discussed how we choose our friends and associates and how we faced our problems; I asked you to think about times you were faced with a problem, what you did about it, or what happened if you ignored it. Does anyone want to share with us?
Seems to me that some of what you shared with us was about times you made a mistake – whether it was intentional, . . . you didn’t do anything when you felt you should, . . you thought you did the wrong thing.
So, today let’s talk about our making mistakes – or things that we may have thought were mistakes.
How many of you have never made a mistake,
Done something you later regretted?
Didn’t think so. . .
When we make a mistake, we often feel that somehow we have failed; and failure, in this society, is something that is very negative. A lot of people view failure as a sign of weakness, a character flaw.
But let me tell you, failure is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw – failure means you TRIED to do something. You didn’t sit in a chair and fuss over what you should or should not do; you don’t convince yourself that it was someone else’s responsibility; you didn’t ignore the whole situation. If you have done nothing and ignored the problem or thought someone else would take care of it, it is the FAILURE.
One of the most important ways we learn is we learn from what didn’t go right and move on. . . move on to a new beginning. So when things do turn out like we wanted, there are a couple of things we can do to learn and move on. In fact, it is through failures that we learn.
The first thing we need to do is stop being scared of failing.
- How many times have we thought about doing something that we knew was right and stopped short, because we were afraid we would do something wrong. . .
We might make a mistake . . .
or be criticized . . .
do something that would made us look foolish?
We all make mistakes, we all have failures – unless we don’t try at all. And if we don’t try, we are stuck where we are FOREVER!
No growth . . .
no successes. . .
Everyone fails. You can’t succeed if you’d don’t try. It is a part of life. It is normal and expected!
Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing at all. Every time we try and make mistakes or fail, we learn something from those mistakes and succeed the next time we try. . . or the next time . . . or the next time. Behind every success is often a trail of failures, and every failure is leading toward that success. If we do not try, we end up regretting the things we did NOT do, often for the rest of our lives.
Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Most great opportunities force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first. But as long as we try, we are moving toward a new beginning.
The second thing we need to do is stop beating ourselves up for old failures and mistakes.
- None of us have lived as long as we have without making mistakes:
we may have become involved the wrong person,
let ourselves become addicted to substances,
made decisions that were not in our best interest,
were hurtful to others.
That is a part of life – you have not lived unless you have made some mistakes along the way.
But no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But
we ARE NOT our mistakes,
we ARE NOT our struggles.
Mary Pickford, a silent screen actress, once said:
“To fall is not to fail, unless you fail to get up again”
The people who rarely fail are usually the ones who never do anything – and trying involves taking a risk – daring to do something, take a stand, or make a commitment. But you have heard the old saying
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained” –
And that is always true!
The Psalmist David tells us in Psalm 37:23-24:
If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
In Philippians 3:13 the Apostle Paul tells us to :
forget those things which are behind and reach forward to those things which are ahead
with the power to shape our day and our future. Every single thing that has ever happened in our life was preparing us for today and the future.
So if we want to move forward to a new beginning, we need to
- • Cultivate friends that lift us up and support our best self
• Face our problems head on
• Think of our successes and hopes and dreams
• Always try to solve things no matter how difficult.
Remember this: we can do wonderful things if we just
- • Don’t dwell what ‘didn’t happen’;
• Don’t hang around with those people who drag us down
• Believe in ourselves – thinking we can do something is halfway to doing and being.
• Learn from our mistakes, but don’t dwell on them; move past them, remembering what we learned from them;
• Be open to new experiences; don’t be afraid to try – take a chance!
Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 24 May 2015
NOTE: This is part two of a series about how to have a new beginning, overcome old habits and how to discover joy in our lives. – deniray