experience, learning from

It’s been said that the only way to get experience is to make mistakes.  I feel like I’ve had a dose of that medicine lately.

I’m (obviously) not going to go into details, suffice to say … experience sure is a brutal teacher.  But, wow, do you learn.

I guess that all one can do is learn from the experience, go forward as best as possible, and do one’s best not to make that mistake again.

Sigh.

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I personally believe that God uses all the experiences in my life, even my sins, to create and mold me into the kind of woman he wants me to be.  That’s a regular prayer of mine.  The idea that God is using all of this mess to continue his spiritual shaping of me provides a degree of comfort right now, although there’s still this nagging un-comfortable feeling around my heart and in my gut.  Just because I know this is part of God’s molding and shaping of me doesn’t make it all sunshine and roses again.  I was dumb.  I messed up.  And the consequences are still there.

I wish I were wise, so that I would know when to exercise caution as well as know when to charge ahead.  But, I suppose, the only true way to get wisdom is to make mistakes and learn from them.  So … here I am.

Sigh.

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The thought occurred to me today: Did Jesus learn from his mistakes, too?  Well, obviously, he didn’t make sinful mistakes.  But did he ever do something that … wasn’t a good idea, like grab a hot coal out of the fire, or experiment with gravity by dropping his food into the dirt, or run too fast, lose his balance and fall?  Are these things innately part of the human experience in a sin-filled world, or are these mistakes a result of a sinful nature?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but any mistakes that I, as a sinful being, make are always going to be tainted by sin, so I can’t make a comparison of my life to Jesus’ earthly life.  For me, the fact is that I make mistakes, lots of mistakes, and if I’m lucky, I recognize them and learn from them.

I know that’s true, but I don’t feel very lucky right now.  Hopefully, as time goes on, I will feel better.

Regardless of how I feel, I depend on Romans 8:28.  Back in 8th grade, I requested that as my Confirmation verse, but my pastor at the time refused, saying that it wasn’t a “confirmation type of verse.”  Hmm.  A friend of mine, who became a pastor, had it as HIS verse, so it can’t be totally un-Confirmation-y!  Even though it’s not my “official” Confirmation verse, I still cling to that verse in tough times.  It’s comforting to know that in all things, even the sinful things, God is working for my good.

It’s kind of amazing to think about.  God takes even the bad, spit-in-God’s-face things that I do, and still works them out for my good.  That’s a lot of love God shows to me.  Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that now I’m going to be okay with sinning, because I’m not.  Sin is never a good thing.  But, it truly is a comfort, deep down in my soul, to know that despite my continued sinning, it’s all going to work out okay in the end.  As much as I sin, just as much can I find forgiveness for my sin, and just as much will God use that sin as part of his “working things out for my good” promise.  My emotions don’t believe that, and my head doesn’t really believe it either, but deep down, I know it’s going to be okay.

In fact, it’s already okay.  God is equally present in the past, the now, and the future, and it’s all working out for good.

Sigh.  (But this time, a sigh of relief.)

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2 thoughts on “experience, learning from

  1. I learned something new about my wife in this post — specifically, your former pastor’s absolutely inexcusable refusal to permit you to use Romans 8:28 to be your confirmation verse. We’re not talking about an imprecatory psalm here, people! It would be one thing if he had said, “Sorry, the company that makes the certificates we use doesn’t make one with that verse on it.” I could live with that. But a young person wants a beautiful theology-of-the-cross confession-of-faith verse, and the answer is “No, it’s not confirmation-y”??? I don’t get it. I mean, that’s just Lutheran-jaw-dropping “Wow.”

  2. Um, yeah JJ!! I have to comment on that, too.

    I am getting a better picture of just how strange your former pastor was!

    The Bible is the inspired word of God, true? So it stands to reason that whatever is in there is good stuff, no? OK, so, not the begetting stuff, but pretty much anything else, especially Paul!!!, should be fair game for confirmation, and especially if it has a special meaning for you personally!!! Why should an innocuous verse such as you mentioned, Em, be chastised as “not a confirmation-type verse” ???

    I am , I must admit, quite dumbfounded…

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