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You are only defined by your mistakes if you give the mistake the power to drive your life

In the past several months, there have been several very costly mistakes made by the members of my household, including yours truly.  In my case, it was a mistake that cost thousands of dollars and was the single largest mistake of my adult life.  However, as time and perspective have added to the event, there is redemption.  It’s been a bittersweet time in my family because there is a pain with the mistakes, but there have been incredible lessons that have come out of the situations if we choose to learn instead of defining ourselves by the mistake.  Shame would like to define you by your mistake because shame would want to keep you powerless and move you toward hiding and numbing behaviors.  In turn, this chains a prisoner to the mistake.  However, that is not the attitude of any emotionally healthy parent nor of God.   No good parent wants their child to identify only with the negative aspects of their being or with their mistakes.  Alternatively, abusive parents may use shame and guilt as a manipulation tool to remain in control of the child’s behavior.  Good parents know that the child who focuses on their mistakes or their weak areas will not move toward their potential and, in turn, will stay powerless and/or start operating in more fear.  Parents who understand this paradigm will work hard to try and tell and show their child their value.

Have you ever met a person that does not accept compliments well?  The moment we tell the individual something terrific about them or their action, they discount the praise by telling you why it is not true or why someone else is better.  In this person, shame is the shield they choose to carry and the only evidence that will, unfortunately, penetrate that shield are things that focus on the negative aspects of self.  Your efforts feel invalidated and powerless when you are the person who is trying to affirm and compliment because shame prevents the positive truth from passing to the depths of the person.  As a parent, we can feel very helpless when our children embrace negative cycles instead of choosing positive.  Our efforts can feel as if they are in vain and we desire is to see our children embracing positive and moving toward truth that is powerful.  God feels the same way.  He wishes to penetrate our shield of shame and see us move powerfully.  However, he has given us free will and will not penetrate our shame unless we invite him to do so.  God, like good parents, is more focused on how you think about yourself and how you process mistakes and failures than he is about the mistake or the failure.  Of course, there are natural and logical consequences of every mistake that is made.  If we did not receive natural or logical consequences to our mistakes or failures, we would not learn to be wise.  If I tell my child not to touch a hot stove and they do so, they will burn themselves.  This natural consequence helps become the bridge between inexperience and wisdom.  However, repeatedly focusing on their failure to obey my directions and their mistake of touching the stove, will only create shame in the child and shame only produces more powerlessness.  Unfortunately, if I believe myself to be shameful, I will behave out of a motivation of shame.  God, like good parents, is more focused on you seeing yourself through his eyes of love and not through the shame lens of your mistakes.  He, like good parents, wishes you to live to your fullest potential.  Where are you operating in shame?  Where do you focus on the mistakes of your past as your identity?  God desires to release you from that heavy load of shame, but you are going to have to begin to let his truth and other people’s positive truth about you change the way you think.  We find what we are looking for in life.  What are you looking for today?  Shame’s powerlessness or Freedom’s powerfulness?

Jeremiah 29:11 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.

Recently, a rare bird has been spotted in my neighborhood and neighbors have spent the last weeks hosting hundreds of bird watchers from all over the United States and Canada. Over 900 visitors have visited and signed the guestbook, and neighbors are all a little confused over the fascination that would cause someone to travel thousands of miles to view a bird. I have to admire their passion that drives them to spend time and money to seek out that which fulfills their dreams. How are you at investing in your dreams for your future? Do you spend time and energy on moving toward your dreams or do you just wish you could move toward your dreams? For most people, they know what their dreams are, but they don’t know what keeps them powerless and unmoving. Powerlessness can be likened to an invisible chasm in which you don’t know where it starts and you don’t know where it stops. Therefore, you wait until the fog clears to get a better view only to realize that the only way you are going to get a clearer view is to change your perspective. You need to go higher above the fog line by inviting the higher power of God into your sight line, or go deeper below the surface you are standing on and get below the fog line. Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do for ourselves is to understand what is the below the fog line; the aspects of our past and that of our parents that keep us from walking forward. I usually do a family genogram with people during our first information gathering session where I draw out the family tree on the whiteboard for people to see the feeds from their past that get into their sight line. Rare is the person that doesn’t see something that they never saw before as their history it is now in their sight line on the whiteboard. Rare is the person that does not have fog removed from their eyes when they seek to understand their past from a different perspective. Sometimes one just needs to see things below the fog line to get clarity on how to move forward. In my case, one of my empowerments came from understanding how repeated patterns of treatment from my abusive grandmother caused me to interact with my world, bond with my world, share in my world,etc. When I came to see that much of my perfectionism was tied to the beatings and verbal abuse I received for mistakes I made as a child, I could finally learn to take the fog of perfectionism out of my sight line. Before digging deeper and going below the fog line, I knew I was a people pleaser, and I knew God did not want me to live there, but there was trauma tied to mistakes that needed to be rooted out so that trauma responses were not fogging up my sight line. God wants us to achieve our dreams. He desires to us to flourish and grow because he is the one who created us. He is cheering us on to walk in power and authority and move toward our dreams, but we may have to look at some things from our past that are hidden below the surface so that we can clearly see how to walk forward.

Psalm 20:4 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”
Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”
Psalm 37:4-5 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.