The other day I sent an email to a group of 10 or so people. In the email I used a wrong word. It was one of those situations like using “there” instead of “their”.
One recipient who is a friend shot a quick response back letting me know of my mistake. There was no shame intended … just an FYI. Immediately, I felt a brief shadow of embarrassment, “Darn. In spite of proofing it, I still made a mistake. So like me!”
I responded with a quick light-hearted response, kind of like getting up quickly after tripping hoping no one saw my clumsiness. And then it happened again, another misspelled word in my response. “I’m hopeless!”
At that moment I had a decision to make. Will I allow myself to be defined by my spelling or more accurately stated, poor spelling? Or will I allow the incident to evaporate as quickly as it developed because I believe that I am not defined by my mistakes? Will a few misplaced letters define me or the well-placed letters I read in God’s Word?
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
1 Peter 2:9
I know it’s a silly illustration, but it was a good reminder for me to be defined by the truth of the Bible instead of how I feel. Mistakes don’t define me. God does.
The same is true for every Christian. Neither mistakes nor success determine value. Significance is determined by Another; the One who know’s us best and has fixed our value.
The Christian life is largely about learning what God thinks of his children and allowing that knowledge to seep into every faulty and/or self-condemning pattern of thinking. It’s about replacing the long practiced errant ways of viewing our self with His eternal truths of grace, acceptance, transformation and peace.
"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you."
So my poor spelling is a gift. It causes me to rely on what He says about me in the Bible rather than how I feel.