When I’m Feeling Like a Loser
- October 17, 2019
- Lori Travers
There are times when I’m going about my business, thinking I’m doing some kind of good, when a mess up, a mishap, a mistake, or a dumb decision will rise up from within my unredeemed flesh and it will completely obliterate an otherwise enjoyable day.
I’ve made more than a few mistakes in my work. Throw in a truckload of parenting mistakes, along with dumb decisions while navigating my newly found adult life years ago, and relational issues as a result of speaking too quickly or abruptly or at all…and I can end up feeling like the failure the enemy of my soul is bent on making me believe I am.
Case in point: My husband and I were asked to fill in on a “5th Sunday” to activate the “coffee ministry” at our church. We gathered up our snacks and set them out for the congregants and brewed pots of coffee, while once again enjoying a lovely Sunday morning fellowship time. As I was ready to pour the filtered water into the awaiting brew master, a precious woman from our church showed up with her own set of snacks. She looked a bit perplexed and then gently said, “What are you doing here? I’m on coffee today.” Uh oh. As I whipped out my Sunday service app to double-check, I found that she was indeed correct. It wasn’t my Sunday and I had made a frustrating boo boo.
What occurred minutes after retreating from the coffee station can only be described as a bit tormenting. My mind immediately went to every other oversight or blunder I could think of. These images came to me like waves…the kind that crash over your head and as soon as you find your bearings, another one comes to knock you off your feet from behind. Those thoughts became emotions…sad, frustrating, fearful ones. I felt myself shrinking, slowly becoming invisible, like it wasn’t necessary for me to be there anyway, my presence was not needed or wanted, and I would probably just mess up the flow of the morning anyway.
I thought about slipping out the back (Jack).
But just then, my campus pastor came by and asked in his usual kind, connecting way, “Hey Lori, how are you doing today?” I can’t imagine what my facial expression was, but I can tell you he knew that something wasn’t right with me (although, that’s not unusual). I told him what I had done and how I felt so badly that I couldn’t even keep a schedule straight and I mumbled something about how the lineup had changed some and how I had gotten confused…blah, blah, blah. But then he did something that was a monumental game-changer for me. He gave me a HIGH-FIVE! YES he did! He celebrated my blunder and by doing so he let me know in no uncertain terms that it was OK…that I was ok…that it was all OK because we ALL make mistakes because we are oh-so-human!
I share this simplest of blunders here. But if we sat face-to-face I would share with you some of the more serious ones…the ones that have given me nightmares, the ones that came about because I focused on myself a tad too much, the ones that have cost friendships.
The woman who had been “caught in the very act of adultery” in John 8:1-11 must have felt she muddled up one too many times. Ripped from the scene of the crime, presented to the men who would shame her rather than offer help and healing, she stood exposed waiting for her judgment. I imagine her mind racing with every impulsive, ignorant, and sinful act she had ever committed. I see her standing in her shame as the enemy has a field day with accusations of how she deserved death.
But then One comes…the Rock of Ages…the Cornerstone…and as He challenges this woman’s accusers, their stones of accusation crumble like sand in their hands. And as Jesus gazes into this guilt-ridden woman’s eyes, He simply says to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” She answers in the negative and then He finishes with these words of hope, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (NLT)
I’m learning at this stage of life that it’s never too late to learn. I’m learning how to quiet the enemy’ voices and I’m learning to not let mistakes define me. And I’m learning that one encouraging comment from a friend can obliterate a whole host of negative thought waves. Sometimes that friend is human, but always it resonates from the One who no longer condemns me.
And I want to be that kind of friend.
Now THAT is something to high-five about!