Mama always said, ” Stupid is as stupid does”. – Forrest Gump
We are human and foolishness will always be a reality. All of us do stupid, foolish things from time to time. We mess up, screw up, goof up, and fall on our face. Most of the time we get back up and move on. But I have noticed we struggle most when we make mistakes in the workplace.
I suppose there is more at stake here. Our reputations are on the line. And our reputations can affect our future employment and advancement.
Recently, one of my children made a mistake at work. It was a little bigger than other mistakes in the past and, therefore, more noticeable. My child was embarrassed. And it made me stop and think about all of the stupid things I have done in the workplace over the last 30 years.
In the last 30 years I have held employment in the following areas:
Hardees (fast food) * Crowleys (retail/fashion) * Red Lobster (restaurant cook) * Sam’s Club (cashier) * Michigan National Bank (teller) * MotoPhoto (lab tech) * Sears Portraits (photographer/sales) * CP Studios (photographer) * Fox Studios (photographer/studio/weddings) * Ultimate Image (photographer) * Roz & Sherm Boutique (cashier) * Grace Christian Learning Center (childcare) * FreePress News (delivery) * Teddy Bear Portraits (sales) * Partylite (MLM sales) * Director/Pastor of Outreach * Church Planter * Marketplace Chaplain * Bastien Enterprises (admin) * Some other place I have probably forgotten about
The mistakes made are sometimes from inexperience, immaturity, and lack of education. Sometimes it is out of pain or anger or grief. Sometimes they are made because of selfishness, pride, and greed. But always because we are human.
I have had more than my fair share of major blunders.
I was short-changed by a quick-change artist and written up for the shortage in my cashier drawer. I forgot how to load my camera in the middle of a wedding. I lost a roll of film from a wedding. I had a camera break in the middle of a wedding…twice!
I forgot about cookies I had in the oven and overbaked them until they were as hard as hockey pucks. I slipped and fell into a vat of cooking grease. And I made a co-worker cry…more than once (for the record…I still feel bad about it).
I’ve shown up to work late. I’ve shown up to work hungover. And I’ve shown up wearing mismatched shoes.
I’ve given in and given up and stood my ground at the wrong times. I have had an anxiety attack in the middle of a sermon and while teaching bible study. I’ve had an anxiety attack while speaking in front of 800 people and 8 people. I’ve lost my notes, forgotten my notes, and I have shown up with the wrong notes. I have lost my temper and made people cry and made myself cry…sometimes at the same time.
Once we start to follow Jesus, He helps us. He helps us to mess up less. He also helps us to do good more. And to do more good.
Jesus gives us grace and grace and more grace. We fall down. We get back up. We fall down. And, when we can’t get back up, He picks us up. Jesus gives us much more grace than we give ourselves. He gives us more grace than we give to others. Sometimes Jesus gives us so much grace that we start to feel like He is going to run out of it. Sometimes I feel like it. Sometimes I’m convinced of it.
On the days when I am convinced that He has run out of grace for me, then I am reminded of St. Paul’s words to the Philippians:
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (1:6)
These words from St. Paul will not undo the stupid stuff. And they will not make our feelings of regret and humiliation disappear. But they help us to take a deep breath and start over. Tomorrow His mercies will be new. Tomorrow we have a new day to do good more and do more good.
Keep your eyes on Jesus and take another sip of His grace!