Writer, Teacher, Planner, Dreamer

Month: March 2015

Mistakes are OK?!

The Phantom tollbooth

I just finished reading The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I had never heard of this book before my husband told me about it. It is one of his favorite books, so I decided to read it. It is a fantasy book about a little boy named Milo who is bored with his life. One day he receives a package in his room that contains a magic tollbooth which he drives his electric toy car though. This begins his adventurous journey through the world of imagination. He meets many friends along the way and is sent on a mission to rescue the two princesses, Rhyme and Reason, who were being held in prison in the Castle in the Air. The story describes the fascinating people and adventures that happen on his journey to save the princesses. The book teaches lessons about life, creativity and imagination and is filled with humorous puns. If you have never read it, I highly recommend it!

When Milo finally arrives at the Castle in the Air to rescue the princesses, they invite him to sit and rest from his travels. Milo comments about how many mistakes he made along the way that slowed down his journey and that there was so much to learn. The Princess of Pure Reason says: “You must never feel badly about making mistakes as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons, than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.”

This made me think about my life. Often I try to prevent making mistakes. Sometimes I won’t take risks for fear of making a mistake and looking like a failure. Is it a failure to make mistakes while working toward the right things? Or, is failure spending our energy succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter? God has called me to share the love of Jesus with kids. I write lessons, teach, equip others to teach and make decisions about the ministry in my church with that goal in mind. Am I failure if I make a mistake or a bad decision in ministry if I learn from it and keep trying? I am learning to believe that I am not failure if I make a mistake. However, I am a failure if I devote the time that I should be spending on God’s calling to something else that God hasn’t called me to and succeed at it. What is the thing that God has called you to? Spend your time doing those things. Be willing to take risks. It’s okay if you make mistakes …as long as you learn from them and keep working.

photo credit: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; illustrations by Jules Feiffer photopin – (license)

Snow and Sympathy

snow2

Last week we had another big snowstorm – hopefully the last one of the year. I always find it interesting how we react to the way others act when the snow comes. We get frustrated when their reactions aren’t the same as ours. The day after the snow, my husband was out shoveling and scraping his way out so he could get to work. He is also from Massachusetts where in Boston they have gotten over 100 inches of snow this winter. So, our 10 inches of snow wasn’t a big deal to him. Other people I know still had not dug their way out and left their houses 2 days after the snowfall. For them, a foot of snow is a big deal and leaves them paralyzed. Those like my husband and I are left shaking our heads and don’t understand why they can’t just deal with it.

I think it all comes down to experience and learning to sympathize with others. People who have moved here from warmer weather states don’t have the same experiences as we do. Some of them may have never seen snow, much less having to shovel their way out of it. But instead, we expect them to suck it up and deal. How often do we do the same thing in other areas? We see people struggle with weaknesses or sin in their lives or who are just overwhelmed by the weight of their load. Instead of helping them and walking through it with them, we get frustrated and don’t understand why they can’t get their life together.

We turn our backs on those struggling with addictions instead of trying to understand what they are trying to cope with by using those things.

We label people as being weak instead of taking the time to learn about problems in their bodies that we can’t see.

Those are just two common ones …but you can fill a sentence with other situations that make you frustrated with others. We would rather talk about other people in judgment than talk to them and understand. It’s easier to shake our heads and turn the other way than it is to walk through the muck of life with them. All the while, forgetting how messy our lives were before someone was willing to get their feet dirty and walk with us.

My mom told me how their neighbor came over and shoveled all the snow out of their driveway and walkway last week. They didn’t ask the neighbor for help. Instead, he saw a need and did something about it. He cleared a path so they could get out. What needs do you see in the lives of those around you? Are you willing to get in the middle of the mess and help them walk through it?

photo credit: Ditmas Ave., Flatbush, Brooklyn – photopin – (license)

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