It amazes me how we mess up and God gently corrects us and reminds us He is in charge. Last week I went to a meeting. The Emergency Response Team was called out to help in our flooded state. I have been a member of this team since it began, in fact, I was the one suggested we put a team together. I love going and helping these folks out. It is hard work, it is dirty work, but it is so rewarding.
Our fearless leader asked who was available to go. We had decided on a Monday and Tuesday of the following week. I looked at my calendar knowing I had something on Tuesday evening, but I figured I could easily get someone to cover for me. So, I stepped up to the plate and said yes. After leaving the meeting I began to dread making the phone call telling the one person I adore and love that I couldn’t keep my previous commitment. I needed to bail out. She was disappointed, but she understood. All evening long and the next day I felt guilty. I had made a commitment and then just as quick bailed on that commitment. I sent another lady a text and she made me feel a little better, but the guilt didn’t go away.
I suffered with this guilt for two days. Finally, realizing I made a mistake I apologized to God, but did nothing more. I didn’t try to get out of the second commitment. I just shrugged it off. About two or three days later I got an email from our fearless leader; the trip had been canceled. The trip had been canceled? Now I could fulfill my first commitment. I was disappointed, but sure God’s hand was in this.
The one reason I was so quick to dismiss the first commitment in the first place was because I had to speak and I had no message. Nothing was coming to me; I couldn’t get a grasp on what I was to speak about, so this was my way out. Now I was back to deciding what it was I was to speak about. Guess what? God not only cleared my schedule so I could speak He also gave me the message! I had worried I would disappoint not only my friend but others. I have one lady who is very critical of me and I thought this will give her more ammunition. She seems to find the least little thing about me and criticizes me and I was dreading giving her more. God knew my fears, knew my mistakes and I believe He also didn’t want her to have any more ammunition.
I haven’t spoken yet, it is tomorrow evening. I have been practicing my talk in my head. I know it is what someone needs to hear or be reminded of. It’s kind of funny I am talking about leaving a legacy. This is my last year as Vice President for this group and the last time I will get to share before this group; talking about leaving a legacy. My legacy could have been tarnished, but God came through for me. He didn’t want me to be tarnished. He doesn’t want any of us to be tarnished. He wants us polished and ready to serve. It’s funny as I write this I think about the silver tea set my grandmother had. She had to polish it with silver polish to make it shine once in a while. She would do it just before company came and she planned to use it. She would never use it tarnished; it had to shine. That’s the way it is with us. God polishes us and gets rid of the tarnished dull spots and shines us up ready for His use.
As I think back and reflect I think about how selfish I was. I wanted to do something and I didn’t stop to think what the cost would be to others. I knew what I wanted to do and I did it. “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” – Romans 8:5 I was setting my mind on the things I wanted not what the Spirit wanted from me. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;” Philippians 2:3 I was being selfish and not thinking of others or the commitment I had already made.
I realize I am human. I still and will always make mistakes. The thing about mistakes is you learn from them. You don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over. I have learned this. I think I will always remember the guilt I felt for the following few days and how miserable I was. George Bernard Shaw wrote “success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”
Donald Rumsfeld also said, “It isn’t making mistakes that are critical; it’s correcting them and getting on with the principal task.” God did the correcting. He had a task for me and He was going to make sure I completed it one way or another.
This has humbled me. I realize (well, I already knew) I am not perfect nor will I ever be. God sees the imperfection in me and still loves me and wants to use me. I will continue to make mistakes; hopefully it will be a different one and I will still be corrected by God. I need to be polished every now and then and God does a good job. Someone once said, “The refiner’s fire is not a comfortable place to be. It involves intense heat and repeated hammering. But it is in the refiner’s fire we are purified and prepared to meet God.”
When was the last time you goofed up and God corrected your mistake? Are you like me do you often think about what you want instead of what God wants for your life? Does God need to do some polishing before you can be used? We are all human; we all make mistakes, but it is what we do with those mistakes that matter.
Dear God: I am so sorry I messed up. I am so sorry I was being selfish and not putting others needs first. I have experienced the pain of guilt and that is not comfortable. When you are refining me it’s not an easy place to be although I know it is necessary. Polishing can be hard work. Getting into the nook and crannies to clean those hard to get spots are sometimes difficult. I give myself up to you to polish those spots that are difficult. I want to shine so I may be used by you. I want to shine so others can see you in the reflection. May there be more of you and less of me. Amen