There are No Mistakes, Only Happy Accidents

hands-423794As a firstborn perfectionist, I take it hard when I make a mistake. Even worse, my definition of “mistake” would probably be extreme to most people. While friends and family are raving about the latest dinner I have made, I am busy kicking myself for slightly overcooking, slightly under-seasoning, forgetting an ingredient, etc.

Creating a piece of art is no different. In every piece I create, there are usually a few wrong moves that create unplanned marks of color on my paper. If the peanut gallery in my mind had a say, I’m sure everything I make would end up in the trash. However, God is challenging the perfectionist within me. I’ve been struggling to accept that the best laid plans often go awry–and with good reason. God is always waiting for us to catch up with His plan. And His plan is very good at accounting for our mistakes.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

I have had moments when an ink splatter threatened to ruin a piece I’ve been working on for hours. However, before a tear can be shed or a childish tantrum thrown I will hear the LORD say, “Don’t give up so fast. Leave it alone–it’s all going to work out according to plan.” While I nervously continue forward, I am always pleasantly surprised to see how a splatter is seamlessly incorporated into the picture. Or that splatter will force me to change my “plan” a little, resulting with a design that’s even better than I imagined–the plan God had for it all along. This reminds me of the philosophy of the late artist Bob Ross, “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.”

“Happy accidents” exist in our lives as well if we are willing to listen to the voice of our Creator. There isn’t a mess we can make that He can’t turn around and work for good when we submit to Him. Like any other human being, I have suffered loss and trauma, sometimes so deep I am in awe of how God has carried me through it. There are hurts and sins I would rather not remember. I try to stuff them down into my subconscious, thinking that if God has forgotten them, then maybe I should too. However, when God heals us, He steadily peels back the layers of our being, as one would peel back the layers of an onion. Some hurts and some sins are not as simple as they seem. God must work on us to expose the roots of these things and truly bring us freedom. Freedom isn’t found in forgetting, it’s found in trusting Him to take our past sins and the wounds we’ve received through the sins of others and turn them into “happy accidents.” Where we have been doesn’t have to determine where we are going.

Years ago, when I suffered from depression, I remember thinking, “When God delivers me of this depression, I really want to help others who suffer from it too.” There were days when being free of depression didn’t seem possible, and the thought of helping others seemed like a joke. But ever since truly giving my life to Yeshua (Jesus), healing has been a daily part of my walk with Him and helping others happens in the most unexpected ways. Little by little, I can see hints of how He is working out those years of suffering–and the difficult road of healing afterward–for good.

The artwork of my life isn’t complete, but I can certainly say that being able to help anyone else to walk this road of healing is indeed a “happy accident.” The LORD’s original plan for me and the rest of humanity never included sin and the pain that results from it, nonetheless, His will is still done through those of us who desire to return to Him and His ways. While I will always strive for excellence, I am trying to remember that I am not perfect–and that’s okay.  God’s strength is most certainly made perfect in my weakness.

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” –2 Corinthians 12:9,10

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