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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

One Big Mistake

You guys are my people. Some of you are family, most of you are friends or acquaintances, but if you read these words in this space, you're my people. So I need to tell you about something that happened last weekend.

You know how I have a tendency to only attempt things I'm already good at, or things that I know I'll be successful at? Well if you don't know, now you do. I'm the kind of girl who minimizes her risk of failure at every turn. Remember how last year's pull-up challenge was so good for me in even just admitting I was a beginner at something?

See there's something in the way I'm wired that makes me terrified of failure. I know no one enjoys failing, but my particular brand of fear means I don't even try things if there's a chance I won't be an instant success. I quit things that are hard and if by chance I attempt anything difficult I do it in small spaces. Small try, small fail. I'm an Ennegram 3 after all and part of my 3ness means being very careful to present a failure-free Katie to the world.

But I got a job recently. A friend and I paired up to start a boutique digital marketing firm and now we have multiple clients that we do real work for in the real world. Which is 1 part exciting and 1 part terrifying- because what if? What if I'm not great at this? What if I screw it up? What if they find out I'm not an expert? So I've been slowly stretching my wings and doing work that I LOVE for clients I BELIEVE IN and it has felt a bit busy and at times chaotic but overall, worthy and exciting.

And then last week I made a mistake.


The kind of mistake that backspace doesn't fix. A big mistake that went out on the internet for thousands of eyeballs to see.

My (new) boss was the first one to catch it. I got a text in the middle of an otherwise lovely Saturday afternoon and I instantly knew what it was and how it had happened. My torso heated up and my heart started racing. I couldn't breathe. This was it. My worst fear was actually happening and it was really public. She had seen it and there was no way to undo it or to get the mistake genie back in the bottle.

I tried to do a BIG NEW THING and made A BIG MISTAKE. I felt stupid and unknowledgeable and incompetent. I was apologizing while knowing there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn't take it back and I couldn't make it right.

And then my boss did something so incredible, so loving and so kind. She offered me grace. Now I know - I'm a Jesus-follower. I have been extended Grace with a capital G. I ought to understand how sweet a gift it is. But it is so precious to have a human offer grace and frankly, I don't open myself up to the need for it very often. My boss called me right away and we talked about how and why it had happened and she gave me the gift of gracious words. I knew she was upset- I would have been pissed. I knew she was frustrated and this was not something she wanted to think about on a Saturday and that this was kind of a big deal, and yet...she extended grace. She told me it was okay. She said it wasn't the end of the world and that we weren't doing brain surgery. (Which, um, for my brain surgeon friends out there - what do people say when you make a mistake!?) It didn't minimize my mistake and it didn't change the situation, but it changed the way I felt about myself and it drew my heart toward her and this work.

As Easter approaches this weekend, I can't help but make the comparison. Isn't that just the best picture of what Christ has done for us? We are big mistakers. Over and over again. And not just accidental, oopsie! kind of mistakes, but real, willful, on-purpose mistaking. And in the middle of our mess He reached out and extended grace. Jesus knows about all our mistakes. He reaches out anyway. He draws us near and declares, "I still love you." When this Grace is the foundation I have built my life around, why is it so hard for me to let down this wall and own up to my own imperfection?

Am I embarrassed? Yes. Chastened? Yes. A little wiser than I was before the big mistake? Yes yes yes. But it has been over a week since the BIG MISTAKE and the world is in fact still spinning. I've even still got a job. My family knows all about the big mistake and they are still talking to me.  I'm hoping that maybe in making this one big mistake I've taken a sledgehammer to the wall of perfection I've built around myself. Maybe it's a part of a long over-due process that will finally tear down the wall.

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