Embracing a Messy Life: 3 Reasons You Should Be Excited About Making Mistakes

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Embracing a Messy Life: 3 Reasons You Should Be Excited About Making Mistakes

Adapted from Monica and Michael Berg’s Spiritually Hungry podcast. Listen and subscribe here.
August 2, 2021
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We are surrounded by images of perfection. On TV, on social media, on billboards – we see perfectly sculpted bodies with blinding white smiles, all airbrushed to perfection. We see images of perfect families, perfect jobs, and perfect relationships. We think perfection is just within our reach.

Most people have a great fear of mistakes, especially big ones! We pursue perfection as a way to protect ourselves from the judgment, criticism, and regret that comes from mistakes. But perfection really isn’t the goal of our lives. Mistakes are a necessary part of our spiritual journey and one that should actually excite us.

Here are 3 reasons to get pumped about making mistakes:

1. You need to make mistakes to improve yourself. A piano player does not become a world-class pianist without hitting a few wrong keys. No matter how naturally talented you are, you cannot improve without making some mistakes along the way. In fact, it’s from those mistakes that we learn the most. They are not just setbacks in our journey but actual lessons that can make us better. When he hits a wrong note, the pianist learns something about himself and the piece he is playing – maybe he learns to reposition his hand or that there’s a key change in the middle of the composition he hadn’t expected.

All of the energy you use in the failing is never wasted – it’s being used for something you might not be able to see yet. Every mistake you make is to make you a better person. Ask yourself: how do I do better tomorrow? What do I want tomorrow to look like? We new perspective did I gain? What are the beautiful things that came from my mistake?

2. Mistakes are a powerful motivator for change. When we hold ourselves to an impossible standard, mistakes can make us feel shame, regret, and generally bad about ourselves. But when we get upset about our mistakes, we get distracted from the beauty and the lesson in the situation.

Mistakes can be a wake-up call that forces us to think differently, find new solutions, or start down a new path. They make us try harder, work smarter, and be better. They’re a signal that it’s time to change something, and that’s a reason to get excited! If we lived perfect lives as perfect people, there would be no room for growth or transformation. There would be no reason for self-discovery or adventure. Look at mistakes as an opening instead of a problem. Run towards your mistakes as opportunities to become the best version of yourself yet!

3. Mistakes lead you exactly where you are meant to be. If you’ve ever been driving in an unfamiliar area and made a wrong turn, you know the feeling of anxiety and frustration that a mistake can cause. But consider this – maybe you were meantto make that wrong turn. Maybe you needed to turn down the street you did for reasons that you aren’t even aware of. You can learn from the situation – next time, use your GPS and pay more attention to the road – but know that there’s a spiritual reason why you needed to be where you were.

We tend to think we know what our lives are supposed to look like. We map out our future and then get upset when things don’t go exactly to plan. This kind of thinking leaves little room for the Creator. There are wonderful surprises and beautiful twists in the road that you can’t possibly foresee. Have humility that you don’t know what tomorrow looks like, and be open to what is coming. Trust that you are where you are meant to be in this moment and that there’s a reason for every mistake.

Life is not meant to be a pristine picture, airbrushed to perfection. It’s supposed to be messy, interesting, and unexpected. Know that you will make mistakes. Expect them and enjoy that messy part of life. Play in the mud, dance in the rain, and surrender to the messiness!

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