Is your goal perfection, or is your goal growth? Be honest with yourself, here.
Do you spend most of your time and energy trying to do things just right, sidestep mistakes, and avoid failure OR, is your focus the process of self-discovery and growth? Do you lean into the often messy process of getting to know who you are deep, deep down and what you were made to do?
I spent years trying to be “perfect” because I believed if I did everything right I would find peace and security. I was afraid to make mistakes, so I spun my wheels to avoid failure. I thought mistakes meant I was doing something wrong (because my goal was perfection). To my surprise, I realized mistakes usually indicate I’m doing something right because my actual goal is growth!
By “growth” I mean development in all areas; maturing as a person, as a woman, and as a Christ-follower. This involves gaining a deeper understanding of who I am and what I am passionate about, as well as how to translate that into action. Growth consists in choosing to invest deeply in others and vulnerably allow them to invest in me. Growth entails continuing to gain awareness of what my physical body needs and how to best nurture it. Growth certainly involves being transformed into Christ’s image and allowing Him to lead in all areas of my life.
Goodness, if all that good stuff is part of my personal growth you better believe there are some mistakes along the way!
The truth is, mistakes are the only way to grow. Growth is a process, and processes aren’t perfect. Think about it, have you ever learned how to do anything without some trial and error? When I learned how to ride a bike, I sped to the end of my street without knowing how to turn around. I literally attempted to jump off my bike before I crashed to the ground for weeks. It was a process to figure out how to successfully stay upright while turning a corner! How about navigating young adulthood? For the love, that was a process. Learning how to set new boundaries with my parents and gaining confidence in my ability to take care of myself was a far cry from perfection. Learning how to communicate with my husband? Yep. While our love and commitment are secure, learning how to express our needs and effectively communicate took years (and let’s be real, our efficiency in this area continues to grow). And, those are all good things! It was a good sign that I fell off my bike… because it was the only way to learn how to ride a bike! It was a good thing that I stopped relying on my parents, even if it meant some less than ideal decisions. It is a good thing that Joshua and I dove into trying to communicate. Sure, there were many messy conversations, but we learned all along the way!
I should clarify; I’m not promoting poor choices or condoning sin. To knowingly make a poor decision and to make a mistake are not the same thing. It all comes back to the motive. If your motives are pure and you are walking with God as you take each step, I honestly believe He isn’t disappointed or upset or even wishes our “mistakes” didn’t happen. He knows it’s part of our growth and I think He’s delighted in our process! We are the ones who wish we could shortcut the process and arrive at perfection!
Can you imagine what it would be like to consider "mistakes" a good sign?! A sign that you are trying new things, that you are taking risks, that you are moving and growing!
How do you view “mistakes?” Are you afraid of “failing?” Friend, what are those beliefs costing you? I know for me, and many women I’ve worked with, the cost is enormous. Risks not taken, dreams not chased, and amazing women living in little prisons of fear instead of freedom!
So, what’s your goal? Perfection or Growth? If it’s growth- if it’s living from your most authentic self and learning more and more about who she is and what’s she’s about, you can lean into the process, even the mistakes, that will inevitably happen along the way! Take a deep breath and remind yourself that God is with you and wants you to enjoy your process of growth, mistakes and all!