Why do we search so hard for and dream about a mistake free day? The perfect day? Twenty-four hours in paradise?
I know I would never turn down a day that was encircled by a mistake-free-zone. Where the mistakes and foibles of others and myself had no influence or effect on my current day. Had no tendrils that reached into the next day and the next.
Many of us have searched for this mistake free zone, thinking it was attainable. We have tried to control ourselves, others, circumstances, and our environment. After we fail over and over to reach this place of mistake-free perfection, we eventually change our perceptions and rules to a little more humanly possible and start calling ourselves “recovering perfectionists.”
Yet the ache is still there. This ache for utopia. And we find ourselves at times caught in the middle of a fight to control everything within reaching distance.
But is utopia the best place for us to reside?
Would Utopia benefit us and others?
What if God wants us to live in this messy, unpredictable, mistake filled world because it is the best place for us? What if this environment teaches us more about our self? Our neighbor? Our Creator? What if it gives us opportunities to apply the fruits of the holy spirit more often? Grow in grace and unconditional love? Test and grow our character and morals and shape us in ways paradise never would?
We all want to know the future, or at least not make mistakes in our choices. Ideally, we would chart a straight course and arrive at the other end without speed bumps, detours, or washed out bridges.
BUT: What if those detours are there to help strengthen our faith, mold our character, and positively impact us and others?
We all want to know the correct choice when it comes to the future, our employment, choosing our soul mate, what house to buy, where to live, how many children and dogs to acquire.
BUT: What if we are supposed to live in this unpredictable and multi-choice world so that we learn to trust God and not our self? What if it is more important how we react to and deal with our choices, then our choices them self?
We all want the perfectly clean and photograph ready house at all times (or at least for a few hours after we put forth effort upon it), a fairy tale wedding with no hic-cups or problems larger than an unsmiling flower girl during pictures, and a dinner party that flows as smoothly as ball bearings in a wheel.
BUT: What if our messy house is supposed to remind us of our humanness and messy heart? What if those unperfect events are really more enjoyable and memorable for our guests, and even puts them more at ease, than the perfection we were shooting for? What if our not-so-perfect events highlight our vulnerability and make us more relatable with others so we can create community?
We want to go through a day without making a mistake. A day without forgetting to fill the car with gas; blurting out that pregnancy secret we promised to keep under wraps; or calling the dog over and over again, only to realize we were calling our youngest child to the dog food bowl.
BUT: What if we are supposed to live in a land riddled with mistakes, ours and others, so we learn to better love, serve, and hand out grace to our self and others? What if we are to learn and grow from our mistakes and see them as part of being human and a necessary part of this life? What if they are to ultimately point us back to our Creator or help us connect with others on a deeper level when we can be vulnerable and truthful about our mistakes?
We want our children to limit their mistakes to small things. Maybe forgetting to tie their shoes before heading to school. Misreading the clock at bedtime. Blurting out the wrong answer in class. Not putting on clean underwear.
BUT: What if our children and their mistakes are supposed to teach us to quit trying to be so controlling, to not shame and blame, and to instead develop unconditional love? What if they are to remind us of our parent/child relationship with our heavenly Father? What if they are to teach us patience and assist us in encouraging and training our children, instead of judging and whittling away their worth? What if they are as big a learning experiences for us as they are for our children?
Who doesn’t want a perfect mate? Someone who reads our minds. Remembers our anniversary and birthday. Hears us the first time we say something, instead of the fifteenth. Someone who remembers, without two text reminder messages, to stop and get milk on the way home and then later fix the bathroom sink.
BUT: What if our mate’s mistakes are meant to knit us together into one, or are meant as windows into our heart where we can pour out compassion, grace, and unconditional love to the bone of our bone? What if they are opportunities for growth and trusting? Opportunities to practice forgiveness. What if they are meant as promoters of laughter and down the road humor?
We all have this ache for utopia. For perfection. For a permanent mistake-free-zone.
It is dwelling deep in us and knit into our hearts.
But we need to realize it can never be achieved in this world. Or in our life time.
That ache is there so we look forward to our next life in a perfect city and a remade and perfected world where there are no tears, death, and no mistakes.
That ache is there so we connect and form a relationship with God and then long to be with Him in the future. Because if we were able to create utopia now, what need would we have for God?
Now that is a sobering thought!
For now, we live in this wild and wacky world of humans and unpredictability. Let’s embrace it. See it as the gift it is. Because if we look at things a bit differently, our mistakes and imperfection provide a wonderful opportunity for us to grow, learn, and connect. Not only with each other, but also our Creator.