The other morning I flung freshly ground coffee all over the counter and onto the floor. It was dark, early, and I suppose I had no business making coffee before I'd actually had coffee. Someone else should do this job. Later that same morning I slipped a full bowl of soapy water right through my hands and into the sink. It was the bowl I had mixed bread dough in, so it's not like I just sloshed suds all over the kitchen. Suds and bits of gooey dough scraps rocketed from the bowl onto the counter, the mail, and across the room to the table.
It was excellent, because I love cleaning up unnecessary messes.
These were more like accidents than mistakes, but if my kids were making the messes I'd have a litany of advices-ignored (pay attention! be careful! slow down!), things I've told them a hundred times that would prevent accidents and even most mistakes. Right?
So much grace for me; so little for you.
We are all making these mistakes — running the day thoughtlessly and doling out grace disproportionately. We make excuses for certain mistakes and blow others completely out of rational thought.
The foundational premise of our life can turn out to be: don't make a mistake. We admonish our children to learn from our instruction (so much of which came from the hindsight of mistakes) but don't make your own mistakes.
We've warned you, for crying out loud.
I've been praying a prayer lately that I really want to be true. I really want to mean what I say. Jesus knows and interprets what I mean and that is a chilly sort of comfort — to be seen clear through but to have all my pretenses visible, as well. This is the division of soul and spirit and joints and marrow. This is a prayer I pray and then follow with help my unbelief...
My prayer is that I will welcome correction.
If my life is driven by the fear of mistakes, then a welcomed rebuke must be the antidote. Hard to swallow and easy to disregard, at least superficially; but what a slap in the face of the enemy if I can receive a rebuke with thanksgiving.
The other day I was minding my own business, looking for mates to two dozen mismatched variations of black socks (really, literally, two dozen), when tears threatened to break loose.
Sometimes the voice of God is as tangible as frustration and as sweet as a smile with tears, all at the same time, and I'm one of those who always questions and second guesses "what God says". He sounds a lot like me and you sometimes, and that freaks me out. What if I am the voice of God to myself? *shudder*
But when it's accompanied with pushy tears, I generally pay attention; and then I do a mental search of the scriptures to see if it lines up.
I am so scared to do things, so scared to hear wrong and do wrong and make mistakes, big or small. I'm also leery of a calloused heart that no longer responds to the upside down logic of God.
So when all my emotions pushed up to the surface and God said, in effect, don't fear that My will holds no pleasure for you, it was a rebuke and a comfort all at once.
I know a lot of people have a problem with others who claim to hear from God apart from scripture, figuratively or literally. It's dangerous business. You can go ahead and argue that my own voice spoke to me, that's fine. But you should know that most often my own inner voice is either a comically critical woman with a southern accent (she sometimes says bad words), or a condescending and hard to please Queen Mother.
This voice was neither.
It's the very character of God that I question, when I refuse correction and turn away from obedience. I am Jonah and Gideon and Moses and Peter, all in one moment — asking God if He's sure, reminding Him of the weaknesses I want to use as an excuse, listing my limitations, and swinging the nearest weapon when threatened.
Is He good enough, safe enough, and does He care enough about me?
...He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." ~ Hebrews 11:6b
God is a rewarder of those who live their lives in search of Him — and what is the reward?
I'm seeking God even when I'm praying prayers my flesh doesn't really want to go along with, and at times He overrides the voices in my head to tell me something that is just what I needed to keep going, over a mound of laundry that constantly replenishes itself, much like grace.
Right in the middle of a whole mess of mistakes, when I'm half-hearted about the correction and wondering if it's worth the trouble, it feels like God Himself is seeking me out.
Like God Himself is seeking me out.
It's mystery then, again. I'm having cake and eating it, too, when I choose to seek Him diligently.