When You Got It All Wrong

What to Do When You Thought You Got It Right, But You Got It All Wrong

I’ve made some pretty big mistakes in my life. Usually they have ended up costing me time, but sometimes my errors have cost money, too. Almost always, they have resulted in wasted effort.

Frequently, error arises from the unknown. If I don’t check the weather forecast, I won’t know there is frost on the way before morning, and I will, therefore, go to bed without covering my fragile tomato plants.

Of course, if the weather man is wrong or I just get lazy, that’s another story, and there are ten thousand opportunities every day for me to end up getting it wrong, which gives me all sorts of compassion for Christopher Columbus, who failed to factor in the presence of North America in his quest to travel west and reach the East. Whether we give him credit or blame, whether we call October 11, 2021 his birthday or Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I know that I could easily have made the same egregious navigational error he did… or worse!

Have you ever been convinced that you were right, when, in reality, there was a continent-sized piece of information you hadn’t considered? Vast tracts of undiscovered territory, if I had only explored them, might have changed the outcome on some of my more spectacular blunders, so I tend to do my research these days. I want to consult all the experts, follow all the advice (even the stuff that contradicts itself). Sooner or later (hopefully sooner), I ask God for guidance.

When You Get It All Wrong

The Preacher who wrote Ecclesiastes slid into a fair amount of hand-wringing over his own judgment fails, and he sums it up this way:

Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
    whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know the path of the wind…
so you cannot understand the work of God,
    the Maker of all things.
Sow your seed in the morning,
and at evening let your hands not be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

Ecclesiastes 11:4-6

Sadly, he’s right. In gardening, in parenting, in business, in ministry, and in just about every possible realm of my life, there are continents of unknowing the size of North America just waiting to topple my sense of security or mastery.

My most recent blunder resulted in an unfortunate delay and about two hours’ worth of angst. I think I’m getting better at letting go of the self-bludgeoning behaviors and just moving forward into the next thing, and I can trace any miniscule progress directly back to a tighter embrace of God’s sovereignty. So, what’s a person who trusts in an all-knowing God to do when she bumps hard into the results of her own non-omniscience and the unpredictability of life?

Likely the same author, but in a different book and a different frame of mind, sends me in a solid direction:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Are you sitting in the midst of a self-made mess today? Rather than berating yourself for what you’ve done, start fresh by accepting God’s grace for the loss. “Acknowledge him,” acknowledge the unexpected land mass where you’ve run aground, and start waiting for the Spirit Wind to redirect your path.

Most of all know that you cannot sin yourself outside of God’s love. There is grace, even for this.

Holding you in the light,

Michele Morin

Columbus Day is a good time to ponder the reality of error. In just about every realm of my life, there are continents of unknowing the size of North America just waiting to topple my sense of security or mastery. What do you do when you thought you were right, but discover you were wrong?

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54 thoughts on “What to Do When You Thought You Got It Right, But You Got It All Wrong”

  1. Wonderful much needed words for today! We should give ourselves grace instead of pondering on the why we
    made mistakes and just ask God to take care of these people and situations that are beyond our ability
    to fix or change!

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  2. I needed to hear this too. Why is it so difficult to give ourselves grace? Guilt seems to be another one of the devil’s weapons against us, keeping us discouraged and depressed. I never thought to apply Proverbs 3:5-6 to this problem. But you are so right, Michele, if we ask for forgiveness for our blunders and accept God’s grace, he provides the path for us to start fresh. Such a glorious reality! Thank you, Michele.

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    1. I find that verse to be almost VISUAL in its relevance to our every day life. I certainly need his guidance to stay on the path, and I need his continual help to stay focused in acknowledging him.

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  3. Oh yes, I have often overlooked continent sized pieces of information and I try so hard not to think of all the mistakes I tend to make (both big and small). I hope that I at least learn from them and then try to put them behind me and move on.

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  4. Perfect for my mindset lately and looking back and thinking so many goofs over my many years, and I just keep doing them. Like you said, can only pick up the pieces and learn from them. Love the analogy of the wind in this scripture.

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  5. Our church just read in Joshua this week about Israel’s failure at Ai due to unknown sin in the camp and their being fooled by the men of Gibeon because they “asked not counsel of the Lord.” In Warren Wiersbe’s book on Joshua that I am reading alongside the passages, he points out how they made mistakes, and sometimes faced hard consequences, but then they picked up and began obeying. And God worked all for good–not to excuse the wrong, but to show His grace. I am so thankful for that grace, as I have had many stumbles and detours and mistakes and falls along the way. I used to beat myself up pretty heavily, too. But somehow I finally learned that wastes time and is not productive. Now I try to just confess it to the Lord as soon as possible and ask Him what I can learn from it–and pray more beforehand to try to avoid these things in the future.

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  6. This is exactly in line with my year of Uncertainty, Michele. And Proverbs 3:5-6 are my core verses! I’ve definitely thought I was right SO many times when indeed I’ve been wrong. I thank God for his grace and his course corrections.

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  7. Sadly, people focus so much on Columbus’s mistake, they can’t see the enormity of what he accomplished. Sometimes we let one mistake cover up the good accomplished – we’re so busy beating ourselves up over failing. Yet – as you say, some of our mistakes are as big as a continent. You write: “I can trace any miniscule progress directly back to a tighter embrace of God’s sovereignty” – and I love that – that tighter embrace of God’s sovereignty, a moving closer to Him and away from ourselves. Just the Monday Morning encouragement I needed Michele! I make so very many mistakes – big and little ones!

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  8. Ugh … I’ve felt that same post-blunder angst, Michele. So thankful for God’s mercy and the ability to forget what’s behind and press on. And this: “I can trace any miniscule progress directly back to a tighter embrace of God’s sovereignty.” This applies to so many areas of my life …

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  9. Thank you, Michele. This is the third time this Proverbs encouragement is popping up this week. I think a ‘tighter embrace of God’s sovereignty’ is in order. 🙂

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  10. Beautiful! I’d like to think that as I get older, I will create fewer messes. Now I just create more elaborate messes. I love the reminder that we can’t win ourselves outside of God’s love. A reminder for each of us personally, and a truth to remember when dealing with difficult people.

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  11. Mistakes are a part of life. I have made plenty!! We serve a forgiving Creator and for that I am thankful. I appreciate you linking up and have a great weekend.

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  12. Fabulous insight here, Michele. I’m wrong more often than I’d like to admit, but haven’t been able to forego the self-bludgeoning (yet). You are right, leaning into Proverbs 3 brings everything back into perspective!

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  13. Michele, this is great insight and fresh wisdom. Yes, I often find myself in a self-made mess. So, this struck a cord: “In just about every realm of my life, there are continents of unknowing the size of North America just waiting to topple my sense of security or mastery.”

    I’m thankful that I cannot sin myself outside of God’s grace and love. I pray to trust Him and not my own understanding.

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  14. Dearest Michele,
    we all want to make the good, and everything in the right way as we’ve been taught but we make mistakes, we wouldn’t be human beins without making mistakes.
    But I’m sure that God not only understands our mistakes, but in His incommensurable Grace He forgive us, when we mistake persuaded to make the good.
    We’re fortunate living with God by our side!
    Thank you for this so beautiful post, my friend!
    Enjoy the remainder of your Sunday
    XO Daniela

    Like

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