I sometimes have trouble admitting when I mess up. I’m a perfectionist. I pride myself in being trustworthy and dependable so my first reaction is to cover up my mistake. I rationalize that what’s done is done and no one really needs to know about it. I tell myself it’s best to just do what I can to minimize the damage and move forward, that no one needs to know. I worry that if people know that I messed up, I will no longer be considered trustworthy in their eyes.
But then I feel guilty, knowing that I really should be upfront and honest. I know I shouldn’t be trying to project an image of perfection. I also become nervous that someone will somehow find out that I messed up and confront me about it. I know that to have peace, I must be open, honest, and transparent but it’s hard.
I tell myself that no one is perfect. I remind myself that I don’t expect perfection out of others, and when they mess up I don’t think less of them. I understand that things happen, people forget, and mistakes are made. Telling myself these things really doesn’t help much though. For some reason I don’t believe that other people think that way too…at least when it comes to thinking about me.
I know that logically, this makes no sense. I also know that some of you out there are totally getting what I’m saying because you think the same way.
A couple of weeks ago, I forgot to do something that I had told someone I would do. I was supposed complete a specific task once every week. I completed the task for a few weeks and then one week, I forgot. It just completely slipped my mind. By the time I remembered, it was days later and too late.
My first reaction was to think of how I could keep anyone from finding out. If people knew I forgot to do something, they’d surely think me untrustworthy of ever being given a task again, right? No, not really, but that’s how I felt. I knew that I should just tell the person who’d given me the task that I’d forgotten but the thought of it made me so nervous.
I came across these verses while reading the Bible:
You have committed adultery on the mountaintops by worshiping idols…you have …worshipe[ed] them instead of me….But whoever trusts in me will possess the land and inherit my holy mountain….I live in that high and holy place with those who are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts. (Isaiah 57: 7-8, 13b, 15)
By hiding my mistake and trying to save my dependable and trustworthy reputation, I was actually putting my image-what others thought of me-before God. If I were to hide my mistake I would be disobeying God in order to preserve my image.
If I do what God asks of me and trust him to take care my image, God says I will “possess the land and inherit His holy mountain.” In today’s terms this means I will get the good things God intends for me to have–including His peace, which I definitely won’t have when I’m trying to hide things.
God says that He lives with those who are humble and I definitely want to live and be where God is.
In the end, it all comes down to trusting God, and not having control over everything all the time.
This reminds me of a quote I read recently.
The almost impossibly hard thing is to hand over your whole self to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is remain what we call “ourselves”—our personal happiness centered on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, despite this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you cannot do. –C.S. Lewis
In case you were wondering, yes, I did tell that person that I forgot and it was no big deal. They weren’t shocked or alarmed. They didn’t decide to give the task to someone else. It was no big deal and I felt peace because I’d been truthful.