Monday, March 1, 2021

permission to fail


We can learn a few (or more!) things from children.

When they have an idea, do they dissect it first? Do they seek to determine if it's worth the time and effort to create it? Mine don't. They grab that paper and eagerly scribble their creation. Sometimes it ends in a frustrated crumpled sheet thrown across the room, but does that mean trying was a mistake? "No," we tell them. "Mistakes are part of learning." But do we really believe that?

Mistakes require grace, and to accept grace, we have to admit mistakes have been made. So mistakes CAN be a beautiful thing! The sin of pride tells us that we must be perfect, we cannot mess up, because that is not who we are. We are better than that. In contrast, God's Word says "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Mistakes can humble us, reminding us of our need for God and the work of the Holy Spirit. And when we admit that need, we can finally accept His promises to move on our behalf: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

I had an idea. It itched at the back of my brain, thinking it just might work. I'd been observing different techniques with acrylic paint and wanted to combine a few to make a piece that we could hang in our living room. Procrastination was bountiful as I avoided failure. I tested the composition on my computer first, staying in the comfortable world of graphic design. But the itch grew until I couldn't resist scratching it - and creation finally began.

Did I love my creation as it was coming together? No. But it was the act of pursuing this idea--with permission to fail--that was life-giving. Because mistakes are okay. We can try again and do things differently, or we can paint over to make something new, but they are part of learning--and learning is a good thing. 

The painting is growing on me. It might not be perfect, but neither am I. And I'm learning that's okay.

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