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)