Why I’m Thankful for My Mistakes

I used to be deathly afraid of making mistakes.

Not only as a straight-A student, not only as a classical pianist, but also as a person. I had this ideal of who I was supposed to be and found the idea of slipping outside of those imagined lines unbearable.

It has taken a lot to learn to accept the hot mess that is me. I’m still learning.

I’m learning it’s okay to get it wrong. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to attempt something you aren’t completely sure you can do. It’s okay to uncover ugliness inside yourself. I’m learning to embrace change and the unknown a little more. But mostly, I’m learning to rest in the grace of God.

When the concept of grace is made real to you, when you realize that the God of the Universe––who could operate any way He chooses––operates in grace, that He longs to be gracious to you, that God’s grace is available any time you choose to humble yourself and receive it…everything changes.

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned in recent years is that I am free to make mistakes. I’m not talking about excusing foolishness or forsaking one’s moral responsibility, I’m referring to the freedom to explore new territory and get a little lost along the way.

Rules and Rescue

I used to think God was a rulebook. I used to think God expected repayment for rescuing me. I used to think God shook His head every time I got something wrong.

But the older I get and the more mistakes I make, the more I realize that God is all about relationship. God is LOVE. He didn’t rescue me from darkness so I would feel like I owed Him. He rescued me so I could be with Him. The price Jesus paid on that cross didn’t have anything to do with obligation. It had everything to do with a desire and longing for connection. It had everything to do with love.

So I still don’t enjoy making mistakes. I don’t think I ever will. But I’ve learned to be thankful for my mistakes, because they prove that who I am and how I am loved is not a temporary state that can be lost. Who I am and how I am loved is unshakeable.

The best part of failing is finding God so close beside me, and the best part of falling is having God catch me. I wouldn’t trade that part of the process for anything.

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Elizabeth holds to simple faith in a complex world. She values the beauty of the everyday and strives for vulnerability with other imperfect humans. She is currently pursuing her MDiv at Fuller Theological Seminary, so when she isn't busy writing academic papers, she is usually out enjoying the LA sunshine. She is constantly learning, laughing, and finding herself in awe of grace.

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