I used to be so afraid of making mistakes at work. One wrong move, I believed, and I’d be out the door. I know now that’s not true, in part because the last few weeks have felt like mistake after mistake and no one’s fired me yet. I erased a client’s website data, lost forever in the depths of the internet, and didn’t respond in time to a super-negative review someone had left for another client online.
Oops. Major oops.
From working in client services for 3 years now, I’ve learned a bit about how to handle the sticky situations that arise when you have to ‘fess up to making a mistake.
As I was sitting in my kitchen this morning, drinking coffee and trying to decide what to write about, I thought about sharing how exactly I handle mistakes at work. As I sipped my peppermint mocha (yes, it’s that season!), I realized that my way of handling mistakes at work is exactly how God calls us to repent.
It’s all laid out here:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
-2 Chronicles 7:14
And here’s how it looks in action:
1. Pray and seek His face by picking up the phone.
From one of my former bosses and now close friend, I’ve learned that the first thing you do when you’ve made a mistake with a client is to pick up the phone. Don’t email, don’t text, don’t pretend the mistake didn’t happen and pray the client doesn’t notice. Pick up the gosh darn phone and face the problem head on.
Last week, when I missed responding to a negative review for a client (part of what they’re paying me for!), my first step was to immediately call the client and explain the mistake I’d made. I HATE confrontation, but I knew it needed to be done.
When you sin yet again for the thousandth time after you told God you’d change, pick up the phone. Get in touch with God. Pray and admit what you’ve done. He wants to hear from you, and unlike a client, there’s NO way God won’t notice your mistake. He’s all-seeing like that.
2. Humble yourself by taking full responsibility.
When we are before God facing judgment, He won’t be looking for well-crafted excuses – He’s heard every one. He asks us to come before Him with humility and to be honest with ourselves and Him about our wrongdoing. Similarly, when I got on the phone with my client last week, there were no excuses. I explained what had happened and said the phrase “This is completely my fault.” And it was. I could have blamed my email or the fact I’m really busy or 100 other things, but the fact was that I was asked to do something, and didn’t.
Proverbs says it best:
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
Don’t conceal your transgressions. Confess your wrongdoing to God.
3. Turn from your wicked ways by making a game plan for change – and taking the first step.
When I make a mistake with a client, I always make sure to lay out a game plan for how I’ll avoid the same issue in the future. It rebuilds trust between myself and my client and the exercise of thinking through a plan helps me ensure I won’t make the mistake again.
Before I got off of the phone with my client, I told her that in the future, I’d set up email alerts so that I’d see negative reviews as soon as they happened, helping me respond to them more quickly. I also emailed her later that day to let her know I’d not only set up email alerts, but that a review had come in that afternoon and I’d already responded to it.
I’m not saying you should make a game plan for how you’re going to magically overcome your sin – that’s not at all what the Gospel is about! Instead, I’m saying you should make a game plan for how you’re going to rely on God to help you turn from your sin. For example, let’s say you really have a problem with swearing. Maybe your game plan is praying to God every time you get frustrated and are tempted to swear, and also avoiding going to football games with your friends since that’s where you tend to swear the most.
Once you make a game plan for turning away from sin, TURN! Do something tangible as soon as you can to get things rolling in the right direction. Today, I felt really convicted about not giving my time to God. I repented like I’ve outlined here, and then what did I do? I yielded my afternoon over to whatever God had for it, instead of making plans for the day. A plan without action is nothing but words.
When I started freelancing as a marketer, I expected to learn a lot about life and about working with people – not so much about my relationship with God. It’s funny how He can use anything as a teaching opportunity. While I’m no pro at repenting, I’m hoping that you and I – by thinking about repenting in this way – can make some progress toward it. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll make less mistakes at work this week. Fingers crossed!
What does repenting mean to you?
Have you ever felt like you have every reason to be joyful – but just aren’t? That’s where I’ve been at lately. God’s been coming through for us in amazing ways (see my post about our new car) and life is good, but I’ve been struggling to feel okay, you know? I just feel like there’s a cloud over me, like I can’t quite pull it together in every aspect of my life, and it’s exhausting.
I’ve felt this especially when it comes to eating. If you’ve known me for awhile or follow me on social, you might know that I’ve lost almost 50 pounds in the last two years, all through following Weight Watchers. While I am forever thankful for WW, I recently decided to move from Weight Watchers to eating a paleo diet, in the hopes of transitioning from weight-loss mode to sustainable-life mode.
Before I quit WW, I really thought I’d finally worked out a healthy relationship with food, and now it was time to take off the training wheels and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Not so much.
While I thought that quitting Weight Watchers and no longer tracking what I ate would help me feel less restricted and less stressed about what I ate, it’s actually done the opposite. These last few weeks, I feel like I’ve been thinking way too much about food: what’s in it, what I should be eating, what I shouldn’t have eaten, etc.
Because I’m not tracking points, I’m constantly worried about whether or not I’m eating too much protein or fat or sugar. This makes me automatically go into “Omg I’m going to gain back all of the weight I’ve lost” mode. Not a good place to be.
Lately, I’ve been on a worship music kick, primarily this playlist. (I’ve been exclusively alternating between listening to this, a Max Lucado book I’m reading, and The Best of Jason Mraz. Random, I know.)
Anyhow, when I was walking to the gym last week, the lyrics to the song “Freedom” by Jesus Culture & Kim Walker-Smith popped into my head:
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom, there is freedom
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom, there is freedom
Come out of the dark just as you are
Into the fullness of His love
For the Spirit is here, let there be freedom
Let there be freedom
I have this bad habit (I think many Christians do) of excluding myself from scripture that seems too extreme. I’m not wicked; murderers are wicked. I don’t need freedom; drug addicts need freedom. You know? That stuff is for people with real problems.
But as I walked and sang this song to myself, it hit me: I was feeling imprisoned by food and my relationship to it. But I didn’t need to be – I already have freedom!
Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
While I’m still struggling to work out what life post-WW is going to look like and what a healthy relationship with food is, the idea of freedom in Christ has brought me so much comfort and joy through this last week. I am not chained to anything in this world because my God has overcome the world, and with His help, so can I.
Whatever you’re going through, whatever you might feel is imprisoning you, whether it’s a relationship, an addiction, a temptation, sin, or something else, remember – there is freedom! God already kicked down the prison walls and set you free. You just need to leave the prison behind.
Letting go. These two words represent the impossible for me. How does one just “let go” of what they can’t control?
I don’t get it. I’ve never been any good at it. Instead of “letting go,” I usually put my worrying into overdrive about the things I can’t control – after all, as I like to say, someone’s gotta do it because those things won’t worry about themselves.
This last week or so, God really tested my ability to let go and let Him. He wrestled an impossible-to-control situation out of my hands, took it over, and guess what? It worked out better than I could have prayed for.
The Friday before last, my mechanic called me and gave me the diagnosis on our pickup truck: it needed work. Expensive work.
It had been steering funny and had even locked up on Brandon completely while he was driving once, which was pretty concerning. The only solution, the mechanic said, was to replace the steering rack, which was going to be a lot of money, especially since the truck was almost 20 years old and wasn’t worth too much more than the repairs.
We talked to a few of our good friends who know a lot about cars, and they advised us to try to sell the truck without making the repairs. They figured that pickup trucks like ours that are older but in impeccable shape would be in demand and that we could get a good price even with the steering issues.
We were torn. On the one hand, the truck wasn’t the most practical vehicle for the season of life we were in. It wasn’t practical to park or drive in the city, didn’t get good gas mileage, and we wouldn’t be able to put a baby in it, which was a consideration since I have been informed that Brandon MUST have a child by the time he is 30 or he WILL DIE.
The truck. Brandon calls it “The Red Baron” but I can’t call it that without laughing.
On the other hand, we didn’t plan on buying a car. We couldn’t really afford to take on any more debt and we didn’t exactly have tens of thousands of dollars laying around. Even if we could sell the truck, would the cash from the truck be enough to buy anything reliable? And did we really want to sell a solid truck because of one issue?<
I spent Friday worrying about what we would do. Brandon and I talked it over that evening, and decided to try and put the truck up for sale. We’d see what happened and go from there.<
Meanwhile, one of my car-savvy friends was selling a SUV for a friend. It was in perfect shape, incredibly well-maintained, and had high miles but a lot of life left in it.
It seemed to meet all of my practical criteria (good setup for far-in-the-future Baby Tay/Brandon, safe and well-taken-care-of) and my diva desires of Bluetooth, a backup camera, and Driver 1 and Driver 2 settings so I didn’t have to try to figure out how far to move my seat back every time Brandon drove my car (he’s a foot taller than me – it’s a real challenge).
But it had already gotten a lot of interest from potential buyers. And the price tag was only feasible if we could sell our truck for a decent price.
On Sunday, I prayed to God that I was officially letting it go. All the stars would have to align for us to end up with our friend’s car. And if they didn’t, we were meant to repair the truck and keep driving it.
Then, I actually LET. IT. GO. I felt peace as I accepted that God knew what our needs were, and gave Him my trust that He would meet them.
After some spammy inquiries from Craigslist people, a real live prospective buyer contacted us on Wednesday. The husband needed a pickup truck to drive to work and work on weekend projects, and ours was the only one they had found in their price range. He had a short drive to work so the steering issues wouldn’t need to be fixed immediately, and he knew someone who could fix it for pretty cheap.
When I received the inquiry, I prayed for the wisdom for us to do the right thing, whether it was accept a low offer, refuse to sell, or do something else God had planned instead. I prayed for us to act out of faith, and not out of our own motivations.
The husband and wife pair drove over an hour from Colorado Springs to meet us that evening at the house, took a look at the truck, and offered us the exact amount we would need to make buying the SUV work. They had the cash in hand, we signed over the documents, and within two hours they left with the truck.
On top of it all, they were also Christians. They’d spent a lot of time in missionary work, and while Brandon and the husband were taking the truck for a test drive and getting the details settled, I got to have a wonderful conversation with the wife. They even prayed over us before they left, praying for blessings over our new life in Denver.
Floored by what had just happened, I immediately texted my friend as soon as they left about the SUV. Was it still available? And would the seller be willing to work with us on payment a bit to ease the crunch of buying a new car unexpectedly?
The next morning, I got a response – yes, the SUV was still available. We could pick it up that day, and the seller (who was also a friend) was willing to stretch out paying the full balance over the next couple of months to ease the burden on us.
Thursday afternoon, we signed the docs and drove away with a new car, perfect for our needs.
The new ride! She prefers to be called Stella.
What had seemed like an impossible pickle just six days before had been beautifully resolved. We were able to sell Brandon’s truck quickly and for above book value, our friend’s car hadn’t sold despite being a hot commodity, and we were able to afford the car with what we made from the truck plus some savings we’d stashed away for a situation exactly like this one.
Can you believe the God of the universe can accomplish more in His power than my worrying can? I know, I was shocked too.
Isn’t God good? Like really good?
I imagine what would have happened if I’d gotten my hands into things. I’d probably have aggressively promoted the truck on Facebook, hoping to sell it. We might have sold it quickly but for much less than we needed to buy the SUV, or we might not have sold it at all. Or maybe we might have gotten impatient with selling the truck and just repaired it, and our friends from Colorado Springs wouldn’t have ended up with the car they needed.
Regardless, it’s clear that things worked out the way they were supposed to because I just LET GO.
I’m writing this partly because God’s telling me that someone needs to read this today, and partly because I need to document this as a reminder to myself to LET THE HECK GO and let God do His thing.
As I publish this, I’m already feeling a strong case of the Sunday Scaries coming on – you know, that anxiety you get on Sunday as you start looking toward the week ahead. I’m going to try myself – and I encourage you – to let Go and let God this week.
Also, a quick shoutout to my husband who officially passed the Colorado Bar and is now a licensed attorney!!! I am so proud of him and all of the hard work he put in to get here.
Wishing you a blessed week. Whatever you’re facing this week, God’s got it!