It only took a second. I was so diligent and paying close attention. But it happened in a split second. It wasn’t life-shattering and no one was hurt, but I screwed up. And…right in front of my daughter. Fabulous example I am. Then, while taking responsibility, a little tiny excuse escaped my lips. Really? I couldn’t just fess up and own it; no! I had to slip in a subtle excuse. Why?
Retelling the tale to my husband, before my mind could stop my mouth, another little excuse rolled off my tongue. Knowing my mistake would disappoint my husband, I blurted an if only excuse to ease my pain. The disappointment in my actions was palpable. The kicker was, he was more upset about the excuse than the mistake!
When I mess up, fall down or make a mistake, why do I try to justify it with some sort of excuse? It’s the opposite of what I want. I truly strive to be the person who not only owns up to mistakes but learns and grows from them. But no. So often, tiny if only excuses rise in my subconscious and burst out my mouth. I try to justify where there’s no justification. I try to show others why I did what I did. It doesn’t matter and doesn’t help. I know, they know and God knows-I messed up.
Ironically, this is the one thing that really gets my blood boiling: lack of personal responsibility. We repeat this to our children: take responsibility for yourself-mistakes and all. To me, making an excuse is almost worse than the mistake! But here I am throwing out excuses to break my fall.
Then ever so gently, a verse about discipline shows up in my inbox. Right after my mistake, I saw the verse. It was like God was right there speaking to me.
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. ~Hebrews 12:11
Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good. ~Deuteronomy 8:5
You see, I’ve made this mistake before. I should know better. Hello! Maybe God is trying to tell me something? No one likes discipline, especially in the presence of a loved one.
So I turned the mistake into a life lesson with a ‘learn from my mistake and don’t do this yourself’ speech to my kids. While it may have helped the kids, it didn’t help me. I knew I messed up. Not only did I make a mistake, I tried to excuse it.
God spoke through His Word in that moment providing the discipline I needed. I prayed. Not only did I ask God for better self-control but I confessed my habit of excuses. He obviously knew what I did, but my repentance and His forgiveness lightened my heart. Why was this not my first response?
God’s discipline is not only for our own good, it leads to the peaceful right living He wants for us.
Will I make more mistakes? Absolutely! Will my children see more of them? Definitely. But what I pray for most urgently is what comes next. Is it an excuse? A speech? Or is it a humble confession and prayer for forgiveness that comes next?
I pray next time I fall, my next act is to fall on my knees in confession. Not blurting out a sly excuse. Or a speech to make me feel better. I pray I will be aware, confess and seek His grace again and again as I follow His footprints. Only then will I truly learn and grow from my future mistakes. And maybe, just maybe, a little of God’s light will slip out, instead of an excuse.
Linking up with Suzie Eller at #liveFree, Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus, Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth, Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart, Jaime Wiebel at #SittingAmongFriends and Katie Reid at #RaRaLinkup