Bloopers, Embarrassments, and Benefits Spiritual Growth Hack
I’d just received a contract to publish my early reader, The Night of Mysterious Blessings. I was emailing Deb Haggerty, the Publisher and Editor in Chief of Elk Lake Publishing, the dream company soon to make my book available. Deb was warm and welcoming—still, I sat, phrasing and rephrasing, feeling like a nervous child wanting to please my first-grade teacher—no, actually, I felt as if I were emailing—God.
I’d taken far too much time to craft a simple communication, ensuring every word counted. At some point, I’d written the sentence, “I’ll work hard to assure you that you made the right choice.” I saw the dreaded, often-unnecessary word that. I changed the wording. “I’ll work hard to assure you know you made the right choice.” SEND.
The words I’d typed burned a hole in the brain. “Assure you know”? Ensure. Ensure. ENSURE! My thoughts sounded like a commercial for a nutritional drink. The context made the error ironic—someday, funny. But not that day. I assured myself, “Deb probably won’t notice!” “SHE’S AN EDITOR!” my inner critic yelled, ensuring I wouldn’t easily forget my mistake.
What could I learn from what had happened? As my 1st-grade teacher said, I should “check my work.” Or was the moral of the story haste makes waste—early to bed, early to rise—I’d been burning the midnight oil. Those weren’t new insights! I wasn’t certain of the lesson, but by God’s grace, I put the mistake behind me and felt peace.
For years, I taught the spirituality of St. Ignatius, so in the evenings, I always try to find time to do an “Examen,” asking myself what thoughts and feelings motivated my actions and reactions that day. During the Examen, God’s wisdom shines light on my spiritual progress or lack thereof. When growth is needed, I end the process envisioning doing better in future situations similar to the one I’m considering.
I went outside to commune with the sky, the trees, and the God who made them. A Scripture verse came to mind: “For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.” When was the last time I’d had a moment’s panic, worried about what God thought of me? Through whose eyes was I looking at myself after I made my error? Not the eyes of infinite, absolute Love, eyes which always brought acceptance of my humanity. I write stories for God and his children—when ego inches in, so does stress. Wasn’t it God who entrusted me with writing The Night of Mysterious Blessings in the first place?
My perspective expanded exponentially. “God, I’ll work hard to ensure you know you made the right choice—and—I’ll check my work.”
It’s always Raining Grace.