Your Mistakes Do Not Define You

“Aaagghh! No, no, no, no, no, no, nooooooooo! Man!”

I shouted and panicked as I stared at the melted piece of fabric on the hot iron while I was ironing my top this morning. After five years of using and taking good care of my favorite pink top, I accidentally burnt a part of its delicate fabric which created a hole in front of it. I couldn’t believe it! Suddenly, I had flashbacks of the times when I used it and I remembered how much I loved its femininity and beauty.

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In the recent years, by God’s grace, I challenged myself to shop less and less. Because of this, I rarely buy clothes and shoes so I could save a bit more. So, I really, really do my best to maintain what I have in the closet. However, what happened this morning gave me a mini heartbreak. I felt so annoyed with myself for being so careless. I looked at the hole in my top and thought to myself “I can’t take back time. I can’t undo what I’ve done. And I don’t even know if it’s still possible to repair my top. Ughh!! This is so, so sad.”

After taking a bath, I sat in front of the fan and I silently poured my dampened heart out to God. I felt that the pretty top with a hole in front of it wasn’t usable anymore. I couldn’t even imagine stitching a patch with a similar fabric on it because it would look weird. I just felt like I ruined its beauty and I could never bring it back to its original, lovely state.

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But, as I was trying to cool myself down in front of the fan, my mom (who was near our room), noticed and mentioned that the hole wasn’t exactly in the middle of the top. By God’s grace, it was located at the side part, which wasn’t too obvious. True enough, when I tried to wear it again, it didn’t look that bad – unless, of course, I raise my arms to the side. Haha. Somehow, in spite of my carelessness, God still showed His grace to me by allowing me to burn a hole only at the side part of my favorite pink top. I wish that it didn’t have to happen, but it did and I know that God used it to get my attention and teach me something important.

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While I was on my way to work, I still thought about my burnt top and I asked God why He allowed it to happen. He then reminded me of one of City Harbor’s songs where it says: “I am not my failure. I am not my flaws. I am not defined by my mistakes, only by Your love. It’s a constant battle to believe what’s true, that Your love is unconditional no matter what I do.” As I started to sing the lyrics of the song in my head, my heart began to melt because I knew that He was encouraging me to focus on His goodness, love, and grace in spite of my carelessness and regrets this morning.

“I constantly trust in the LORD; because he is at my right hand, I will not be moved.” -Psalm 16:8

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Yes, my favorite pink top will never be as good as its original state, but I can still thank God because at least, the iron didn’t burn the whole garment… nor my hands/our place.

Yes, I loved the pretty, flawless piece of clothing because I felt good, girly, breezy, and comfortable whenever I wore it. But, I am also reminded that it is still just a piece of clothing and it will not define my beauty or value.

And yes, I made a mistake today and I will obviously make more in the future. But, I am encouraged to constantly put my trust and security in the One who never will. :)

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

So You Made a Mistake

I panicked this morning when I woke up at 7:38 am because I was supposed to be at the office by 7. By God’s grace, our meeting in the morning got postponed to next year, so I didn’t miss it. When I arrived at work, my immediate supervisor told me that I received an award (President’s Star Award – Outstanding Customer Service) during our company’s Christmas party the night before. Because of a family affair, I wasn’t able to go to the party, so this surprise really encouraged my heart. I felt like I didn’t deserve it because I knew my weaknesses in different aspects. It also felt ironic because I was late for work today. But nonetheless, I thanked God for His grace and extended my gratitude to my supervisor.

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Fast forward to 5 pm, I found out that my colleague and I experienced delays and miscommunication in one of our tasks. Unfortunately, our mistake led to a terrible domino effect on the other departments involved and we were called to the ‘principal’s office’. From 5 to 6 pm, all I could think of and feel was anxiety, regret, shame, and worthlessness. Immediately, I felt like I was melted cheese or a rotten vegetable in the office. I wanted to fly away and never come back. But, I couldn’t turn back time, I couldn’t linger on my regrets because those were already in the past. All I needed to do was to face the reality that I made a mistake, take responsibility, and learn from it.

While my colleague and I were trying to discuss things and seek help from my supervisor, a hundred discouraging thoughts quickly entered my mind which eventually crushed my spirit. I hurried to the bathroom and cried because I knew that I needed to let it out. I mustered a whisper to God and asked for His grace and mercy in the situation I was in. I asked for a miracle.

By God’s grace, a few minutes later, my supervisor walked in the bathroom and told me that one of our managers could help us out and somehow alleviate the stress and delays caused by our mistake. With a deep sigh, I thanked the Lord, washed my face, and headed back to my table in the office.

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Despite the roller coaster ride that I experienced today, one of the things that I am grateful for was the conversation that I had with my supervisor a few minutes after my bathroom break. We sat down in a private room and talked about what happened. She graciously listened to me and comforted me in spite of my weaknesses and it was really a heartwarming time. Instead of adding fuel to the fire, she (once again) graciously and gently rebuked me and gave me a kind of support that only a supervisor can give.

One of the things that she said to me that still gets to my heart was this: “Don’t let that one mistake define who you are. You did a good job this year which is why you were given an award. Even though you made a mistake today, it will not define you.”

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I silently listened to her words of encouragement. I was keenly listening to her voice, but at the same time, I was listening to God’s as well. It was as if God was embracing me at that time and saying to me that His grace is enough for me and will always be enough for me.

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Today was our last working day for the year and God made it as exciting as possible. By His grace, He allowed me to experience His goodness and victory when I received the award today, but at the same time, He also allowed my heart to get crushed and humbled so that I would be reminded that it was, is, and always will be because of Him, His grace, and His love for me. Even if I make mistakes in the future, I know that He never will. My security and hope is in Him and not in my own strengths. And I’m learning to focus on His grace and power and not on my weaknesses.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” [2 Corinthians 12:9]

So I made a mistake. It’s not a big deal because the beautiful thing about God’s grace is that He can turn even our greatest mistakes into our biggest blessings. Sometimes, He may even use our mistakes to bless others too.

Thank You, Lord, for 2014 at work. It has been a privilege working for You this year. I know that You are not through with me yet and I look forward to more adventures with You soon.