Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. – James 3:2, NLT
Does that word hold any special meaning for you? Do you cringe at the very thought of the word itself? Are you, right now, recalling a mistake you made several years ago, one of which you've never been able to let go? Do you find yourself berating and beating yourself up for making a typo in a text message, saying something in a way you didn't intend to say it, not doing something perfectly at school, work, or around the house, or even just for existing? Well, I've got good news for you:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
You are also not a mistake. You may MAKE mistakes, but friends, before we traverse this typed terrain of mistakes and chronic illness, it is imperative for you to know that you are not a mistake. Your existence is not a mistake. The fact that you awoke today is not a mistake. Your reading of this blog post is not a mistake. God does not make mistakes in His Creation, which means, inherently, we cannot be mistakes, plain and simple.
We can, however, make mistakes. If you're anything like me, as you've traveled the road of chronic illness, you may find yourself more prone to making mistakes than you were earlier in life, whether as a result of brain fog, physical or mental limitations, or any number of symptoms or conditions or circumstances. And, if you're anything like me personality-wise, you may be a person who obsesses over mistakes (or even perceived mistakes...I think I majored in "Perceived Mistakes" in college, but I digress), and talk down to yourself, or let yourself succumb to embarrassment, over mistakes that, when it comes down to it, in the big picture of life, aren't really that major after all.
Exhibit A: A couple weeks ago, I tweeted about something that was on my mind, and then I logged out of twitter and didn't check the app for several hours. Within those hours, one or two people had either liked or retweeted my original tweet, and to my horror, when I DID log back on, there was a typo! No! Not a type! I used to be known as a serial typo corrector! Typo correction is something my OCD latches onto severely; so much so I used to be teased for it by some who didn't understand it's not just my perfectionism (though that did play a role), it was my clinically diagnosed, life-interfering case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Added to the fact I majored in English, and have always prided myself on my reading and writing abilities when it comes to academics (you'd never know it on the blog nowadays, since I've not recently been able to keep up with posting...but I'm hoping to change that soon!), you can imagine the mouth-agape, insides-hurting horror I experienced when I saw MY tweet had a typo and had been sent even further into the world by the mechanism of retweeting.
INSTEAD OF LETTING MYSELF WALLOW, I WROTE A THREAD OF TWEETS, WHICH I'M INCLUDING BELOW, EXPLAINING HOW, WHILE IT MADE ME EXCEEDINGLY ANXIOUS, I LEFT THE ORIGINAL TYPO TWEET AS IT WAS, AND USED THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO RECOGNIZE ONE GIFT OF CHRONIC ILLNESS.
Chronic illness has given me the gift of forgiving myself for mistakes, being okay with, and enjoying, laughing at myself whent the situation commands it, and *sometimes* not correcting typos.
It reminds me that while my brain is currently so far from where it was when earning this degree, it IS there. The ability to get a degree itself is a blessing. The degree is a blessing. The promise of a fully-functioning brain, however, even more so.
As you can tell from those last lines (the last tweet in that thread), as I was writing the thread, the idea for this post came to me. So just to sum up the general concept here: you are not a mistake, but yes, you do make mistakes. You make mistakes. I make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. We all try our best to learn from them and not make the same ones twice, but we all do make mistakes, I'd venture to say on a daily basis (multiple times daily, as far as I'm concerned). This just means you're human. I'm human.
We're human, we make mistakes, and that is okay.
Thank You, Lord, for loving me and offering your grace, helping me to accept it in the moments I realize my mistake-making is at a high.
God bless y'all,