The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Learning to Walk by Falling
When our youngest was learning how to walk, she was very persistent. She would fall time and again, yet she’d get back up and start trying to walk all over again. How did she learn how to walk? It was by falling so often. She learned from her mistakes, and that learning allowed her to eventually know how to walk. Proverbs 24:16 says that even if “the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,” and by falling so much, we learn how to stay on our feet better. I have learned more from my mistakes than almost anything else in my life. Experience is the best teacher, and, yes, it’s a hard lesson at times, but those are the ones we don’t easily forget. Since we learn from our mistakes, why are we still so afraid to make them? Everything that happens to us always works out for our best anyway (Romans 8:28).
Learning to Run by Walking
No one learns how to run before they can walk, and no one learns how to walk before they can crawl even though I’ve heard there are a few exceptions to this. When babies start to crawl, they are apparently learning how to coordinate their arms and legs and have them in sync with one another. This helps prepare them for their first attempts at walking. Track stars don’t just jump out of the crib. They must first learn to crawl and then walk, and only then can they ever hope to run. Imagine if a child was afraid of making mistakes when they were learning how to walk. If their fear of making mistakes was greater than their desire to walk, then nobody would be walking today. I am not denying that they have fear and that it’s not legitimate, but we learn so much from our mistakes. So why are we afraid of making them? The bottom line is to obey God and then leave all the consequences up to Him (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Learning to Soar by Running
There is an urban legend that says eaglets in an eagle’s nest have their mother push them out of the nest when they‘re nearly ready to fly, and then she takes them back up by her magnificent wings. According to Jessica Griffiths, coordinator of the Big Sur Ornithology Lab, ornithologists have observed eagles coaxing, even taunting their young from the nest rather than just giving them a shove. When the fledgling eagle is almost ready to fly, parents have been observed to swoop by the nest with a fresh kill. Instead of landing in the nest as usual to share the meal, the parent lands near the nest and eats in plain view of it’s squawking, hungry teenager. This behavior continues until the fledgling is hungry enough to venture out of the nest, at which point the parent will share. My point is that the parent has an all-important role in encouraging, not pushing, their children to be willing to make mistakes and not be afraid of making them because that’s exactly how they learn.
A Closing Prayer
Heavenly Father, I too am sometimes afraid to make mistakes, but I know I lose a valuable learning opportunity by avoiding doing anything at all for fear of making a mistake. Please help me to be willing to make mistakes so that I can learn from them, not intentionally seeking to make mistakes but to not be afraid of them when I make them. In Jesus’ name I pray.
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