Don't Get Stuck in the Muck

Friday was a typical Kansas day in July—swelteringly hot with high humidity. But Saturday morning, I enjoyed the morning sitting on my back deck, spending some quiet time with God while everyone else is still asleep. When I went to bed Friday night, the temperature was still close to 90 degrees, and the air felt like a wet blanket. Saturday morning, the temperatures were in the upper 70s, low humidity and a beautiful breeze. What a difference a day makes.

Saturday morning during my Bible reading time, I read Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” That passage reminded me of how hot it was on Friday. If I had woken up Saturday morning thinking that it was going to be as miserably hot as it was Friday night, I might never have opened the door to go outside. I would have missed the beautiful morning because I was dwelling on the past.

How often do we get stuck on our past mistakes and failures and let them hold us back and keep us from moving forward? We even let them keep us from doing what God calls us to do. All we see is the hot, sweaty mess from yesterday and not the clear, cool morning of today. God wants us to move forward into the new things He has planned for us. If we mess up in our parenting, our marriage, our job or our ministry, we need to ask for forgiveness, if necessary, and move forward. God never intended for us to let our mistakes paralyze us.

This is a lesson that kids need to learn, as well. As a matter of fact, if your kids learn not to let their mistakes hold them back at a young age, life as they get older will be much easier. Think about how you teach a child to ride a bike. When they fall off, you make them get right back on so their last memory of riding isn’t the fall, but success. That’s the way we should view all of our mistakes – get right back on the bike and pedal toward the good things God has for you.

Let’s be intentional about using our children’s mistakes to teach them and to move them forward. Give your kids a push if they need it to get out of the mire of yesterday and move forward to the new thing God has for them today.

  • When your kids have a tough day or make a tough mistake, talk with them about it. Encourage them and talk about what they could have done differently in that situation. Give them tools to deal with the situation should it arise again. Then, remind them that the past is over and God has new things in store for them.
  • Bring out some of your kids’ favorite toys from when they were younger. Ask them if they would like to play with those toys today. Talk about how they have changed from when they were babies and toddlers. Discuss how when we grow, we leave old things, like toys, behind because there are new things to discover. Tell your children that it’s the same way with mistakes and failures in the past. We leave them behind because God has new things in store for us.
  • Pour some corn syrup in a bowl. Find a small action figure, Happy Meal toy, or even a popsicle stick with a face on it. Put the action figure in the bowl and watch it sink (you may need to give it a little push). Talk about how our mistakes can be like corn syrup, if we let them. They can cover us in muck and keep us stuck in one place. Remind your children that God has a plan for them, and it’s not to sit covered in muck. Let them know that God can even use our mistakes and failure for good. Talk about Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Above all, remember that God loves you and your kids. While we will make mistakes, and we will fail at some things, God doesn’t intend for those things to hold us back. Look around and see the “new thing” that God is doing.