Estimated reading time: 5 minutes 🙂
This morning, Nathan and I got breakfast burritos and walked around the mall together.
It was SO fun. Nathan got off work this morning, so I was stoked to see him. And those breakfast burritos were 🤌
But anyway, on the way home, I made one of the *dumbest* driving mistakes to date. I was turning left and thought the person coming my way had a stop sign (fun fact: they did not). I realized this in the middle of the intersection and panicked. And because I’m still kind unfamiliar with CO Springs roads, I turned directly into oncoming traffic.
I know. Terrible.
Thankfully it was just a side street that wasn’t too busy. I quickly did a u-turn and zipped out of there no problem.
But the whole drive home I was fuming. Not at the driver I dodged, not at Nathan, not even at the confusing roads. I was furious at myself.
That was horrible. You’re a terrible driver – how could you even let that happen? That was so embarrassing. What is wrong with you? Why weren’t you focused? You are so stupid.
If that inner dialogue sounds familiar, read on.
The problem with the lie “I am stupid” is that sometimes it’s not a lie at all – sometimes it’s true.
I make stupid mistakes every day. Most of them are laughable, but sometimes they’re serious – and those are the ones that hurt the most.
I think there is an important distinction between feeling remorse and beating yourself up.
As Christians, we’re called to repent our sins. God knows we’ll make mistakes – stupid ones, serious ones, and everything in between. And there is grace for those mistakes. But in order to grow from those mistakes, we’re called to feel remorse for them, to confess them and repent, and to ask for forgiveness. This is a sanctifying process.
What isn’t sanctifying is beating yourself up. There is no confession or repentance in beating yourself up. There is only guilt, shame, and dwelling on your mistakes. There is no forgiveness and moving forward; there is only dwelling on the sin and resisting the grace God offers you. Isn’t the difference clear?
I struggle with beating myself up almost every day.
Mistakes can range from buying the wrong kind of hand soap to literally driving in the wrong lane, endangering myself and others in the process. But my response is always the same: “I am such an idiot. I deserve to feel horrible for doing that.”
So I get angry at myself. And I refuse to give myself grace, because I understand how little I deserve it.
But you know something interesting I’ve noticed about how I deal with my stupid mistakes?
The times I confess and repent, asking for forgiveness and then move on – I usually do better the next time I’m faced with a similar situation. It’s like my brain remembers “you’ve been here before, let’s do better this time.”
But the times I beat myself up and resort to an endless cycle of inward anger, I keep making the same mistake. It’s like my brain recognizes it’s made a mistake here before, and instead of tackling it with gusto, I freeze and panic – sometimes making an even worse mistake than the one before it.
And I don’t know, maybe that’s just how my brain works. But it’s been a good indicator of whether I dealt with something correctly or not.
The truth is, we are stupid sometimes.
We wouldn’t need God if we were perfect. And if I’m truly honest and lay aside my pride, I can’t deny: I am very dumb at times.
But the lie is this: you are so stupid, you’re hopeless. You shouldn’t accept grace for your mistakes – you don’t deserve it.
Firstly – grace is never deserved. That is the literal definition of grace (receiving what you don’t deserve).
And secondly, by the grace of God we are not hopeless because of our stupidity. We have a God who guides, a God who sanctifies. He is…
YHWH-Rohi ~ the Good Shepherd.
There’s a reason God calls his children sheep in the Bible. Sheep are dumb.
Enticed by shiny things, fame, comfort, “feeling something,” pleasure, and happiness, we wander to the cliff’s edge and lose ourselves in the world. When you look at it from a person’s perspective, it’s obvious: that cliff edge is a dangerous and rather stupid route for a lost sheep to take. The sheep doesn’t know any better.
But here is the beautiful part: God shepherds us.
He leaves the 99 to retrieve you, even as you make that mistake. And he doesn’t berate you when he finds you doing something dumb. He holds you and rejoices to bring you home.
He doesn’t reprimand you for being dumb – He gently nudges you in the right direction.
And of course God desires for you to feel remorse for wandering astray. Of course He wants you to repent and ask for your forgiveness, because He holds it ready to give. He knows that painful process of confession and repentance is healing to our souls.
But once you’re forgiven, why dwell?
Beating yourself up is truly allowing the devil to pin you under the weight of a sin already forgiven. And God’s desire for your life isn’t bondage.
He is your shepherd. He knows you are stupid at times. He knows you are broken. But He can’t heal your broken pieces if you keep taking a hammer to your heart.
I’m working on making repentance my default. I know I deserve to feel awful for some of the horrible mistakes I make – but I want to feel remorse the way God’s called me to, because He knows what’s best for me. And if there is more healing and sanctifying through repentance (rather than beating myself up), I want to follow God’s desire for my life.
You are not hopeless. Those stupid mistakes that wake you up at 2am to haunt you? God knows them just as intimately as you do, and He doesn’t shy away. You can’t make God feel awkward or embarrassed for you – and He knows every detail.
He is our YHWH-Rohi. He is our Good Shepherd. He protects you and guides you, He sees you and knows you, He understands and laughs it off with you. And ultimately, He forgives you. It’s time to forgive yourself, too.
Thank you for reading friend! Have an amazing weekend – I’ll leave you with this:
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord