Wrong Answer

Wrong Answer article art work.  Person holding their head in their hands in frustration.

From the tiny body, that occupied the seat at the kitchen table, came one of the loudest grunts I have ever heard in my life. 

It was homework time, and while they aren't the most stressful thing... yet, my young child looked frustrated while tapping furiously at my device.

He had got one wrong on his quiz.

Never mind the amazing score of correct answers he achieved, he was annoyed at the ONE question that caught him out.

As I reasoned with him that it was ok to get things wrong and make a mistake, he replied with a sentence that echoed in my very soul.

"But I don't want to make mistakes."

In that moment I saw myself in him.

I remembered standing in front of my friend after church just pouring myself out to her and explaining, through tears and snot I may add, that I just wanted to be good.

I have made many wrong turns in my life. I have went against my instinct when it came to relationships. I have been mean from time to time. I have wrestled with feelings of anger and inadequacy when others get what I have worked so hard for.

I understand the pain of mistakes. 
The, 'what-could-have-beens.'
The, 'what-ifs.'
The lost path that you hoped for and hoped in.

But life is interesting.

It seems to be less about being perfect and more about dusting yourself off.

Character is built when you pick yourself up after a fall, and character is shown when you don't get what you want.

My heart went out to my child.
I wanted him to be ok if he made a slip up because, let's be frank, he will.

But I was no different to him.
When I got things wrong I would systematically tear myself down.

I would grunt at myself.

There was no need for someone to do the, 'we need to talk,'  for me.

I was my own flogger.

Shouting at myself is my default reaction to oops moments and I am spending my adulthood trying to fix.

I want to be the brightest in the room.
I want to have impact in meetings.
I want to leave a legacy.

Not because I want fame and glory, although a plague would be nice.  I kid of course. Where would I put it? Just kidding. 

I want all these things because I want to feel like I belong where I find myself.

The truth is, being who I am got me to where I am.
The way God designed me made me who I am.

I can came to release that if I learn to trust and love the person He has created I will find a life that is devoid of condemnation. Which is freeing.

Through mistakes we will continue to grow.
And mature.

All because of mistakes.
Because of wrong turns.
Because we refuse to give up.

But how many of us don't trust ourselves?
How many of us question if we are bright enough?

If we are pretty enough?
If we are skinny enough?
If we are talented enough?
If we are GOOD enough?

And with that self deprivation, which many of us say is to improve ourselves, we leave no room for mistakes.

Surely our effort equates for something?

Surely trying?
Surely repeating until we have got it?
Surely realizing that we aren't perfect and that that is perfectly perfect, is a licence to be kind to ourselves in moments of facepalm.

Those moments when we wonder what we were thinking.
Those moments that we are happy not to repeat.

Any award winning book written tells the story of when a character faces a challenge.

And any story that promotes hope, is one that shares the character overcoming the challenge.

We all can have a hopeful story.
And that can be hard to realise when you are slumped on the floor of your bedroom wondering how you are going to make it through another day.

I've been there.
I get it.
Hope is hard when you are pressed at every side.

Feeling positive is hard when we feel the neverending train of disappointment running over our tracks.

The only truth that we can hold on to is that we are created on purpose for a purpose.

We are not created to wallow but to rise above.

We are not created to be downtrodden but to connect with others and prove that success can happen.

We are designed to be resilient.
To live.
To be free.
To evolve.
To do more.

And a collection of mistakes won't change that.

It may change where you are starting from.
It may influence who is beside you on your journey.
But never making a mistake won't make you happy.

Being under a pressure of outstanding living won't bring you peace.
It will make the hard times even harder because it will feel personal.

Have you ever heard someone say, "If I was good then good things would happen to me?"

Good things can come from doing good things, that's true.

But sometimes life doesn't balance out that way.

Good people die.
Sickness happens even though you are health conscious.
Percussion happens to those just trying to live their lives.
A project bombs and strips you financially.

Life happens.
And that's important for my child to remember.
For me to remember.

Because it's not about how great you are at a,b,c. It's about picking yourself up and succeeding anyway.

I want him to be able to dust himself off as he grows.
To realise he can put things right when a wrong turn occurs.

I want him to feel empowered to stand in the storms of life and remember that he is designed to withstand and that if he feels he can't do it on his own that he can turn to others for support.

So I say the same to you.

You are powerful.
More than you know.

You have felt pain.
More than others know.

But YOU have something.
You are important.

You might not think so.
You might not believe me.
But I know something inside you knows it's the truth.

Something deep.
Something instinctual.
Something is telling you that you are something.

I know.
Because I have been there.
And I return there after every event or moment when I feel like I could have done better.

In some instances I could.
I get mad.
I get sad.
And then a facepalm myself and eat cake.

But in some cases it was a new hurdle.
Something I haven't faced before.
So it's understandable that I mishandled it.

We can't know everything.
But we can learn.
Whether that be how to do it right or how not to do it, we can learn something.

So, my friend who is reading my words.

Don't give up.
Don't give in.
Do the best you know how to do today.
Learn what can help.
And try not to be too hard on yourself.

Give yourself permission to be human.
To ask for help.

And remember that you have a lot to give.

If you would like to share your story or contact me please feel free to private message me on our Facebook page or on Instagram and while you are there you can give me a like or a follow for daily encouragements. You can also email me using theencouragerslife@gmail.com address. 

Be sure to check out our next article here on ‘The Encouragers Life.’

 Article written by J. Bingham

Copyright 2023

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