Today I totally messed up.
I sent a goofy text to my pastor, and discovered that it went to a group of 8 other people. My gut cinched as I pictured them all frowning at their phones, surely wondering who was this crazy person sending them a message about what to wear to a party.
Then there was the other day, when a handsome gentleman I don’t know very well tried to chat with me while he waited for his friends to show for dinner. And my mind went totally blank when he asked me how my day had gone. I stuttered like an idiot, trying to figure out what I had done earlier that day. Because that was a really hard question…
Or what about the time I opened a present at the office party, and didn’t even see the coffee gift card attached to the box. My coworker tried to show me it was there, but I insisted there was nothing. Until I opened the carton of chocolates a few minutes later and saw the card taped to the side. Er, not my sharpest moment…
Then there was that one time when I lost my keys and found them in the fridge…
Go ahead, laugh.
I don’t mind.
This evening, while pondering some of the silly things I’ve done lately, I couldn’t help but shake my head as I held back a giggle. Sometimes we get ourselves in bizarre situations. When there is no way to gracefully get out, the best way to recover is to simply have a good laugh!
But I didn’t always respond that way.
I used to get pretty worked up over mistakes. I didn’t know how to laugh at myself, and was devastated that others might think less of me for my foolishness. But the truth is, people are more focused on their own lives than all the things we do wrong or right. Our mistake may be highlighted for a few moments, but then it fades.
Last week my son lost something important – for the third time – and I had a discussion with him about his self-talk.
“No condemnation,” I said. “Be positive,” I said. “Mistakes don’t define us.”
I wish I had taken my own advice many years ago and learned to chill out a little whenever I said or did something foolish. I wish someone had reminded me that it’s not the end of the world to mess up. That life goes on, and most people don’t hold those things against us.
So this is me, older and wiser, encouraging my sisters that we can’t take life too seriously. We have to laugh at the silly things we’ve done, allowing ourselves the freedom to be embarrassed for a moment and then shake it off.
And if we make a mistake that has big consequences, well, we don’t have to let it ruin our lives. (Like when I lost my kids’ social security cards, and now have to go downtown to order a replacement.) We can make the most of our mistakes and move on.
God doesn’t think any less of us when we mess up, right?
So go ahead, girl. Laugh.
Maybe He’ll think it was funny, too.