Making mistakes is no fun. I will never forget one mistake I made very early in my career. At the age of 19, I was a new computer programmer. One of my assignments was to make changes to a system that generated reports for a manufacturing plant. The night the updates went live, the system should have printed about 20 pages of reports. Instead, it generated 16 boxes of printed reports and would have kept going! I learned a valuable lesson that day: the work I do in one area can impact much more than I realize. I learned I need to look past my own small piece at the bigger picture, and also that the world doesn’t come to an end when I make a mistake.
When we make mistakes, it can be embarrassing, humiliating and sometimes cause messes that need to be cleaned up. But like it or not, they happen to all of us. When they do happen, the key is to learn from them and let God use them for something good. My go-to verse on this topic is Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I’ve experienced this truth many times in my own life.
Here are just a few ways we can partner with God so He can use our mistakes to create something good.
- Learn from your mistakes. We are all works in progress. No matter what type of work you do, growth and innovation is necessary, and it’s only possible when you stretch and have the courage to enter new territory. When you make a mistake, turn to God. Seek feedback and coaching from the people He has placed around you. The most profound growth can come from the mistakes we make. Proverbs 19:20, Philippians 3:13-14
- Build character. Admitting mistakes is tough. It takes humility, vulnerability and integrity. Our mistakes provide opportunities for us to develop, practice and demonstrate these traits to build stronger character. The most highly respected leaders are those who are humble and can admit when they’re wrong. Colossians 3:12-14
- Build trust. You can approach mistakes by making excuses, or by making things right. The best way we can build trust with others is by trusting God through our challenges and mistakes, and doing what God leads you to do. Proverbs 3:5-6
- Share the hope you have. God can turn your messes into messages that encourage others and give them hope when they experience failure. Let’s face it, if we always have it all together, or pretend to, others will have a hard time relating to us when we offer encouragement in their challenging times. But when we can say, “I’ve been there, and look how God got me through” it means so much more. 1 Peter 3:15
We are all sinners who fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and we are exactly the ones Jesus came to save. Don’t let your mistakes and the lies of the enemy stand in the way of all God wants to do in your life. Give it all to Him and watch God go to work in and through you for His glory!