Have you ever felt disappointed with yourself? Like you’ve looked at a situation and thought, “I should have handled that better.” Or you’ve clearly blown it. As in, anything would have been better!
I remember once in my early twenties I was on my way to music practice for church. My brother was in the band as well and I used to drive us there. Now my brother is 8 years younger than me so being in his early teens, he was in a completely different headspace and would always make me late! One day, when I may have woken up on the wrong side of the bed, I’d just had enough and completely ripped into him. It was a decent rant. At practice, which is generally filled with songs about grace and forgiveness, I was feeling kinda bad. I acknowledged that it wasn’t a great way to handle the situation… but where to from here? Pretend it didn’t happen? Apologise? But he was in the wrong too! He’s got to learn. So, who’s more wrong here??
With maturity comes self-awareness. With self-awareness comes
the ability to pick the person you want to be. It was Socrates who said
the unexamined life is not worth living. Being mature and responsible is knowing the ideal that you strive to reach. Guilt and shame are aspects of life when we fail to reach the ideals we strive for. And when we fail, which we all inevitably do, how we deal with it forms the basis of who we actually become. You can run away, sweep it under the carpet, and pretend it never happened. This isn’t good for relationship in the long term. Or you can take a good serving of humble pie.
It’s important that we have a framework for failure. So here’s something I’ve been thinking about: embracing process. When we realise we (and
all the people around us) are in a process, we create margin for people to fail, safely. A process can be messy but it’s not the final result. People make mistakes, we make mistakes, especially under pressure. And even when people are hurt, there is generally an avenue to a redemptive perspective.
There are many pictures of process in the bible. One is that of refining a precious metal. The idea is when the heat is on, the impurities come to the surface. When we understand this about ourselves and others, we embrace process, stop looking for perfection, and are able to forgive.
So my encouragement for you is to remember you are on a journey. Detours, flat tyres, and temper tantrums may well be part of it. And remember there are others around you on the same journey. Let’s all recognise the process and be a bit more merciful to ourselves and others.
Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.’ Matthew 5:7
Kim Anthony is a Family man, Engineer and the Pastor of Life&Legacy Church at Hillcrest. He believes people are ultimately on a quest for connection and purpose and is intentional in providing a platform for people to thrive.