In Others’ Words: What Comes After the Mistake

make mistakes 2015

I was interviewed on the radio last Friday. That’s always fun, even though a radio intervew is a bit of verbal Russian Roulette. I never know if the host is going to a) ask questions from my press release or b) wing it and toss me brand new — think unprepped for — questions.

During this interview, the host mentioned that my novel Crazy Little Thing Called Love dealt with the theme of mistakes, specifically this question: WHAT IF YOUR WORST MISTAKE WAS REALLY THE BEST CHOICE?

And then, thanks to my prepackaged press release, he had the option of asking me these two questions:

  • Have you ever made a rash decision — even if it was based on good intentions? What happened as a result?
  • Can you think about a time in your life when you tried to force a dream or rush ahead of God’s timing? How did that work out for you?

 

He didn’t use these questions — but the opportunity was there. And as I looked over my press kit with it’s Q & A, I realized I hedged on my answers a bit. I was honest … almost. Sure,  let’s talk about my past mistakes. Unwise choices I’ve made that either had immediate or lingering consequences — but only in the broadest sense possible.

I’ve made mistakes. We all have. And I know we don’t have to share our mistakes with anybody, anytime. But at times it is easier to write about the mistakes of my imaginary characters than it is to be transparent and honest about my own mistakes. After all, I’m the author — I can fix my characters’ problems, right? But I have to live with the consequences of my choices — even when I cling to the truth that God can bring good out of everything.

I also know mistakes don’t define me. And that the moments after the mistake is made … the days after the mistake is made … well, those can be even more life changing than whatever I said or did.

In Your Words: How do you deal with a mistake? What’s your go-to philosophy, motto, verse — or even who’s your Voice of Truth, the person that sets your right again?

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8 Comments

  1. September 1, 2015, 5:48 am   /  Reply

    Like you, I don’t believe I have to share my mistakes with everyone, but sometimes God prompts me to do so. It’s the way He brings good from everything. Because of our mistakes, we can tell someone, been there, done that and lived through it. We can encourage. And we can offer our experience in the hopes that others won’t walk that road. Great post!

    • September 1, 2015, 8:02 am   /  Reply

      When I do share my mistakes, that’s my hope: that I encourage someone else that mistakes aren’t fatal. That mistakes can be worth laughing over, worth overcoming, worth leaving behind.

  2. September 1, 2015, 7:53 am   /  Reply

    Mistakes . . . if I can change them I do. If I have to live with not being able to change them, I adjust. I try not to live in regret for making them though. I go more with a, “what’s done is done,” and try to make the most of it.

    For those mistakes I have a hard time working through, having a voice of truth is very helpful. I can talk to one of those Voices in my life and take comfort in their words. I also try to learn from them and make different choices the next time I’m faced with a similar situation.

    I like what Pat said too. I don’t want to waste a mistake, but rather offer encouragement and (hopefully) wisdom to others faced with similar choices.

    • September 1, 2015, 8:04 am   /  Reply

      We’re both writers, Jeanne. We know the value of a Voice of Truth, in both fiction and real life. A Voice of Truth can say just the right word (or words) at just the right time to take the the sting of condemnation out of our actions, allowing us to move past a mistake.

  3. September 1, 2015, 9:40 am   /  Reply

    One day I was talking w/ a young wife/mother who was regretting mistakes. Just then her 5-year-old son came in from helping his dad do barn chores. He had several pieces of straw & maybe a manure fleck or two on his jacket. She flicked it off when God gave me a beautiful picture. The straw/manure wasn’t him & was easily removed. He was the lovable and loving rosy-cheeked boy inside the jacket, easily cleaned up and sent on to his next task. I love that image and that has helped me also lots through the years 🙂

    • September 1, 2015, 11:38 am   /  Reply

      What a beautiful, practical, teachable picture of our mistakes vs. the truth of who we are, Dee. <3

  4. September 1, 2015, 10:33 am   /  Reply

    I made a mistake once. I thought I was wrong about something.

    As it turned out, I wasn’t.

    I think the key to dealing with a mistake is to ask ourselves – what if someone close to us made the same mistake? How would we react when we are in a neutral position.

    It’s not likely we’d browbeat this person over and over again, forcing him or her to wwear a hair shirt that can be removed ONLY at our bidding.
    .
    And then extend that courtesy to ourselves.

    • September 1, 2015, 11:39 am   /  Reply

      Great insight, Andrew. We are often more merciful to others than we are to ourselves.

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