We Are Not Defined By Our Mistakes

PHOT0014.JPGIn a recent conversation in the office, we were laughing that no matter how many times we proof a document, it seems a typo or error will be found just after the e-mail has been sent or 1,000 copies have been printed.

“I always wonder what mistake I’ll be remembered for,” someone remarked. Light-heartedly, I said, “We are not defined by our mistakes.”

But, as I walked away I kept thinking about it. Isn’t that something we all need to be reminded of?

We are not defined by our mistakes.

Yes, some can be real doozies, and some mistakes are remembered for quite a while.

But they do not define us.

Define means to describe, detail, or to state the meaning of. (dictionary.com)

We can describe our mistakes, but our mistakes do not describe us.

The enemy will try to tell us otherwise. He will tell us that our mistakes are who we are.

You can’t do that; you’ll mess it up, you always do. You’ll never get it right. You’re such a mess.

Remember what you did last week? That’s who you are. That’s what everyone thinks of you.

But God trumps the enemy every time, and He says we are not defined by our mistakes.

He does not describe us by our failures…or our successes.

And that’s freeing because God’s love is not dependent on what we do, or fail to do. We are loved by God, not because we are perfect, but because we are His.

He knows we will make mistakes. And from those mistakes comes growth. Our successes and failures may help shape us, but they are not our identity.

We are who God says we are. And God identifies us as His—Forgiven. Chosen. Redeemed.

I may make a real whopper of a mistake, one that takes some fixing and apologizing for. But it’s not who I am. And when my co-worker makes a mistake, it’s not who she is.

Remembering this reminds me of grace. The grace God gives. The grace I ask for from others. And the grace I want to extend to those around me.

We are not defined by our mistakes.

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 NLT

Has there been a time you feared you would be remembered for a mistake you made? On the other side, do you remember others for the mistakes they make?

Photo credit: Stock photo: Sitting

11 Responses to We Are Not Defined By Our Mistakes
  1. Kari Scare
    February 21, 2014 | 7:51 am

    When I lose my focus on Christ, I instead focus on my mistakes and failures and let myself once again become defined by them. But when I keep my focus on Him, my failures and mistakes instead shape me instead of define me. It’s all about focus.

    • Laura Rath
      February 21, 2014 | 8:35 am

      Agreed. We’re going to make mistakes, but the more we focus on them, the more we hear the enemy speaking to us, and the less we hear God’s voice. Thanks Kari. 🙂

  2. Joan
    February 21, 2014 | 8:42 am

    This is a good thing to remember! I often get stuck thinking about some mistake/sin that I’ve made, even though I know I have been forgiven. That is such a defeatist attitude, isn’t it? Whenever I’m tempted to allow my failures to define me I need to turn to God and remember His truth…I am redeemed and in Him I have victory!

    Blessings, Joan

  3. Eileen
    February 21, 2014 | 8:52 am

    How appropriate I should read this now. Just wrote about the same topic this morning. So thankful our mistakes do not define us. We must pursue that Truth every single day!

  4. Joanne Viola
    February 21, 2014 | 8:56 am

    Beautiful!! “We can describe our mistakes but our mistakes do not describe us.” So grateful to have read this!

    • Laura Rath
      February 21, 2014 | 7:54 pm

      Thanks Joanne, so glad you stopped by!

  5. Melissa Wallace
    February 21, 2014 | 11:24 am

    Thank you for sharing this right when I needed to hear it! I have been focused this week on a mistake I made 3 years ago. I let another parent get to me at the ballfield and with baseball season starting again it hit me, made me doubt who I am, regret how I reacted, and wonder what others thought of me. God has been working on me to let this go. So many verses and posts have helped me this week. We are so blessed to be around loving and encouraging parents now.

    • Laura Rath
      February 23, 2014 | 11:28 am

      Melissa, I’m so glad you stopped by at just the right time when you needed this reminder. Isn’t God awesome that way!?! Thank you for sharing your story.

  6. LeeAnn G Taylor
    February 22, 2014 | 10:27 am

    I love this! We are definitely not defined by our mistakes when Christ is the one defining our lives!

  7. Sheryl
    February 23, 2014 | 9:24 pm

    In my past, I defaulted to the negative. I’m going to definitely be sharing this phrase with my bible study buddies “We are not defined by our mistakes.”

  8. Betty
    March 22, 2014 | 5:19 pm

    Amen. I could not have said it better. We are a new creation. God said it.