Not too long ago, I sent an e-mail to a large group of people. I wrote it rather quickly and then pressed the SEND button. Then, when I got a copy of it delivered to my inbox, I realized I had a typo in the subject: “Please SHARE My Announcement for My BOOTH BOOTH this Weekend.”
Well, it should have read “BOOK BOOTH.”
While it was close to what I had originally intended, close only really counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
It’s so funny how things hit us. As soon as I read it, I had to giggle.
The phrase Gus-Gus popped into my head and I thought of Cinderella’s cute, little rotund rodent friend who helped rescue her from her evil stepmother and sisters.
Fairytale musings aside, the point is: Even though I would have liked to have had the opportunity to fix that mistake, it was unfixable the moment it was launched into cyberspace.
A done deal. No going back.
You might be thinking, Everyone makes mistakes, and misspelling BOOK in a subject line of an e-mail is an extremely minor one.
That is true. Not a big deal. At all. And hey, maybe someone else will get a smile or a chuckle out of it. (That is, if they even notice it.)
The e-mail I sent was about my first event to get the word out about my debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, at the Perryton Satellite Center Arts & Crafts Festival.
The day before the festival started, my husband, Steven, and I got my booth set up and then walked around looking at everyone else’s unique displays.
Not far from mine was one that showcased western art and I was drawn to it.
There were large, gorgeous pieces depicting cattle and cowboys hanging, but the one that caught my attention wasn’t even a painting.
It was a small, framed nine-word sentence, resting on a corner bench: When you stumble, make it part of the dance.
What stood out to me was that it read when, not if.
My mind immediately darted back to a super-sized ministry stumble I would give almost anything to go back in time and change.
A glaring misstep in judgment that, when realized, almost caused me to turn in my ministry dance card and join all the other wallflowers. (Allow me to clarify that every Christian’s life is ministry because the ultimate Minister, or need Meeter, lives in him or her.)
I am so happy and thankful that my eternal dance Partner refused to disqualify me and offered me grace instead!
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.
The only perfect, never-stumbling Person who lived on planet earth was the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
And the reason He never stumbled? He trusted perfectly in—depended completely on—His Father’s guidance and power living within Him:
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
We can learn so much by seeing how Jesus danced through life in the short time He graced planet earth with His sweet Presence:
- “Jesus answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner’” (John 5:19).
- “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30).
- “Jesus answered them and said, ‘My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me’” (John 7:16).
- “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me” (John 8:28).
- “I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me” (John 8:42).
- “I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak” (John 12:49).
- “While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23).
Jesus trusted perfectly in His Father’s guidance and power within Him to carry out His will on planet earth.
And He did this by keeping the eyes and ears of His heart fixed on His Father.
He didn’t have to have everything figured out.
All Jesus had to do was trust in and depend on His Father to perform His desire through Him.
Honestly, I have stumbled a lot in this dance called “Christian ministry.”
And almost every time I stumble, it is because I have taken my eyes off my dance Partner and put them on troubling circumstances surrounding me.
Kind of like when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink in the storm-tossed sea (see Matthew 14:22-33).
Another way I stumble is by taking my eyes of my dance Partner and putting them on my feet—on how well I’m doing in this dance.
And every time I do that, I end up stepping on my dance Partner’s toes.
I Googled “step on someone’s toes,” and was surprised to learn what it means: Offend someone by encroaching on their area of responsibility. Ouch!
When we try to do Christian ministry on our own, apart from dependence on and trust in our eternal dance Partner, we are encroaching on Jesus’ responsibility.
His responsibility to do all the leading and living through us as we trust Him.
No matter how much we would love not to stumble in this dance, it’s inevitable. We’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to have missteps.
I am gradually learning that—while stumbling in this dance is inevitable—it’s what we do in response to our stumbling that is most important.
This quote by Wilson Kanadi is a great reminder of this concept: You don’t need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfection.
When we stumble, we have an important choice to make.
We can quit dancing altogether because we can’t score perfect marks and miss out on all the exciting twists and turns in this dance has to offer.
Or we can learn from our stumbling.
We can tell our dance Partner we’re sorry for taking our eyes off of Him and stepping on His toes and start all over again.
In other words, When we stumble, make it part of the dance.
Our only part in this dance is to keep our eyes fixed on the Master choreographer, trusting Him to lead and empower each step.
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6).
- “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3).
- “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).
- “I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me” (Rom. 15:18).
Questions: Have you joined other wallflowers in this dance called Christian ministry because of one or more missteps? Can you hear your eternal dance Partner calling you back out on the dance floor to start all over, trusting in Him to lead you?
Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!
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