Occasionally, I overstep. Sometimes, I stick my foot in my mouth. Every so often, I err on the side of arrogance. And from time to time, I trip up. Last week, I had one of those days. I was so busy being right that I failed to see what was right.
I seem to make this mistake on a fairly regular basis. Usually this occurs after a moment of beautiful, confidence building, morale boosting resolve. One of those rare instances when I believe I have everything completely figure out. When the wonders of the world make sense and I am filled with a bold aplomb and understanding about everything. In other words, moments of craziness crossed with delusions of grandeur that defy reason. It’s when I am at my most confident that I am also at my most dangerous.
Why mention the obvious? Because I did it again. I jumped when a more cautious approach would have been better. Every time this happens, I make a million promises to myself that I will never rush when reserve is called for. And yet, I keep doing it. I’m like the coyote in the cartoon that runs just past the edge of the cliff, realizes his mistake, and then falls with a big splat right on his face. And as he slowly wobbles out of the coyote shaped hole at the bottom of the ravine, the roadrunner mockingly sticks his tongue out at Wily, smirking in the smug way of the self-righteous, never-wrongs.
Truth be told, I always kinda admired the coyote. He never quit even though he never won. He would come up with a new plan or scheme and carry it out with genuine gusto. His confidence never seemed waver no matter how bad the previous attempt’s outcome was. He endured bumps, breaks, and blows to his ego all in pursuit of his dinner. Nothing could distract him from his goal.
I pulled myself out of a Whitney-shaped hole last week after I misspoke around one of my friends. I enthusiastically and somewhat self-righteously asserted that my interpretation of a particular passage in a book was right. After I stomped on her toes and hurt her feelings, I reconsidered my stance and found myself crashing into the ravine under my cliff of confident blustering.
I think the old me would have stayed buried in the rubble of the disaster of my own making, but the new me just can’t do that any longer. I managed to crawl out my catastrophe and ask forgiveness from the offended party. I chose to get up and try again. I still believe that God has a plan for me, and that these momentary set-backs are lessons to be learned.
I do admit that I don’t necessarily think that I was wrong in this instance. I think that the devotional in question is open to interpretation, and it’s okay that it spoke to us in different ways. I don’t think I need to try to fix or correct someone else’s thinking any longer. I just sometimes forget that we all have to walk our own path and God is working His Will in ways I can’t understand.
Does this realization mean that I will never make the same mistake again? That I will never presume to be in the right when there is more than one correct answer in a situation? No, I doubt it. But maybe next time, I will be a little more cautious in the way I respectfully disagree. I won’t compromise what I know to be truth to pacify the situation, but tact and timing mean more than right for the sake of being right.
I have no doubt that I will be picking myself up after a fall from certainty again, but I have confidence that these bold steps of faith are part of my calling. I just need to adopt the tenacity of the coyote and never stop trying. Correctness coupled with compassion will keep me away from these cliffs in the future.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.