Accept mistakes and celebrate grace

It’s a nasty train of thought that I’ve carried with me for a long time:

But it’s not perfect!

All of my life I’ve been a perfectionist. In the 2nd grade when we were creating self-portraits at school, my mother was mystified by my insistence that I wear the same dress for several days in a row. (I wanted to get the details just right.)

I recall in 8th grade getting a “D” in Art class because I couldn’t finish my projects; I couldn’t get them to be perfect.

It’s a disease and I know that others suffer from it too. (Like the 5th grader I worked with who was afraid to estimate an answer to a mathematical problem because, well, it could be wrong!)

I think perhaps it is something that we teach ourselves to believe?

Here’s the pitch I’m repeating these days: Jesus is bigger than any mistake.

Try this at the family dinner table (or wherever your family is gathered together): Have everyone (adults included) share a mistake that they made that day. Repeat the process on a daily basis.

Child tends broken seedling

Exposing and naming our goof-ups teaches our kids that:

  • Everyone makes mistakes;
  • Home is a safe place to confess our sins;
  • When necessary, forgiveness can be extended;
  • We can all celebrate God’s gift of I-love-you-anyway Grace.

It’s not too late to learn: Jesus is bigger than any mistake. What learning is happening in your family?


Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Broken seedling by D. Sharon Pruitt, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

What was Jesus offering? Super water?

It’s obvious. The woman Jesus met at the well is clueless. Jesus has offered her living water and she’s stumped.

You don’t have a rope or a bucket and this well is very deep.
Where would you get this living water?
John 4:11

Let’s imagine what was running through her head…

Living water?
What is he talking about?
He can’t mean water out of this well. He hasn’t got a way of getting anything out of this well!
Does he mean some sort of Super water?
Water that has a special ingredient so that I’ll never need any more water?
That would mean I wouldn’t have to trek to this well every day – and in the hottest part of the day so as to avoid those other women.
Yes, please! I’ll take some of that living water!
Who wouldn’t want some of that?!

Discuss what Jesus meant by “living water. How about playing a game at the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) Call it “Building answers” or “What’s inside her head?” or some other silly title.

Open a Bible to John 4:4 or have this kid-friendly copy of the story available. Tell everyone that Jesus is surprisingly radical in this story. He has offered this woman something that at first she doesn’t understand; it sounds strange to her. (And perhaps to you too!) It would be fun to pretend that we were inside the head of the woman in this story. What do you suppose she was thinking?

Pretend you are at the well and someone, whom you shouldn’t be talking to, asks you for a drink.
What one sentence comes to mind? You’ll probably need to prime the pump on this, so go ahead and start everyone off with: Whoa! Did that guy just talk to me!?
What is the next thought that comes to your mind? Build upon what has been previously thought/said.

Let’s say the progression goes like this:
First person: Who does he think that he is?
Second person: Doesn’t he know he shouldn’t talk to me?
Third response: Maybe I’ll ask him?

Don’t feel as though this has to be a scripted exchange of ideas. It may get silly! And that’s okay. Just have fun and go with what happens. Eventually turn the responses back to speculations about what they think that “living water” is. Allow all responses.

Here’s a way to finish up your game – Say a prayer:
God, who offers us living water; we accept! Fill us full up! We picture ourselves falling back into a calm pool. The living water lifting us, supporting us; we feel very close to you. We thank you that you love us no matter what! Amen.


Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Water Splash by Steve Garner, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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