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Making Masterpieces Out of Mistakes

One of the most profound lessons I learned when I was young, in the early days of art class, was the phrase “There are no mistakes.”

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Of course, reality kicked in, and I later learned we are human and we make MANY of them.

Despite our human-ness and the many mistakes that I have made in my short time here on earth, I still remember Mrs. Wheeler encouraging us in art class. “It may feel like a mistake, though it was a line you intentionally made!” Her introduction of abstract paintings and the inconsistency of paint brush strokes allowed us the freedom to make a mistake.

Later on in high school, working with ceramics, I learned that the intended piece had a couple of “mistakes” that could be made before you’d have to start over again. Even if all else turned to mud, you’d be able to try again, applying what you’d learned from said mistakes.

All the while, I’d stored away this idea that mistakes are meant to be made.

Masterpieces come out of mistakes.

Now, as a mother myself, I am experiencing a new phase of mistake-making. My daughter takes the drawing she is working on and with one “wrong” line, the paper is getting thrown away.

“It looks horrible.” She’ll say. I respond with “Of course not, it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen all day!” This only stokes the fire more, and with the glance of a death stare, the paper is balled up and thrown behind her into a pile of papers on the floor.

Borderline dramatic (lol) on her part, I remain calm. Knowing that this topic of making mistakes has a “fragile, handle with care” label, taped across the top.

One of my developing, God-given gifts, is the ability to read people and see what they’ve got. It is a slowly developing gift, and God hasn’t even allowed for me to walk. I’m still crawling along, paying attention, and trying to listen A LOT.

Listening to students, friends, family,  my daughter, the congregation, and other adults. People are carrying so much. The weight of all those mistakes must be heavy. Often wearing the guilt or shame of mistake making like it is the new trend.

I’m telling you, my friend, choosing guilt or shame over finding freedom in mistake-making is NOT HOT.

We were born to be free. Free from sin and shame. All lies come from the devil himself believe it or not. Mistake-making is a part of our humanity, and it helps us grow into our purpose. I know I’ve shared this verse before, though it continues to ring true.

From God’s perspective, our mistake-making is nothing new.

Jerimiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God gives us a choice to trust Him with the power to redeem us from our mistakes. He trains us to see that the “wrong” line we made is going to contribute to the bigger picture we will create.

The master who designed us knew before you and I were born that we were going to be making mistakes. Throughout His word, He has reference after reference of someone taking a wrong turn, or trusting a snake.

It felt like a milestone in our household just the other day. My daughter ran in with a picture of a volcano, gleaming with joy as she told me it wasn’t the original drawing she had planned to make. Through patience with ourselves and encouragement from others, we have the ability to create a masterpiece despite one simple mistake.

As you go through your week, I challenge you to identify where you feel you’ve made a mistake. Were you tired, or hungry? A snack in the car or a power nap could be the masterpiece that awaits.

Maybe it’s bigger, like something you said or something you did. A conversation gone wrong or a totaled car in your driveway. God is bigger than all of them. Joshua 1:9 tells us to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The masterpiece that awaits is on the other side of a prayer, a brush stroke, or the resistance to throwing your paper away.

Local Pulse Staff Writer & Holy Moments Columnist, Makenna Curtis