You've heard the adage: "Failure is not in the falling down, failure is to not get back up".
Being someone who has done more than their share of falling down, I'm a big believer in this modern proverb. It's a reminder to offer grace to ourselves and to others when we make mistakes, and instead to focus more on how we respond after the fact. We all make mistakes, what we can do is get up, keep moving forward, learn from them and try to ensure they don't get repeated. In doing so, you may find yourself basing your opinions of yourself and others not on whether or not you mess up (because you will), but instead, in how you recover from a mistake and whether you can learn from it. Eventually, when you do mess up, it won't look like falling down, it will be falling down "with style".
Lately I've been finding myself making fewer mistakes.
As I get older, it's less likely that I'll do something stupid. Instead, on the verge of a mistake, I will recognize the issue, step back and think something like; "Oh, that wouldn't have ended well". Then I make a different choice and move on with my life, thankful for the wisdom learned from falling down so many times before. This is part of our 70-some years on this earth. To learn how to walk more gracefully in this life, full of the wisdom that comes with a lifetime of - not just making mistakes - But learning from them. Each and every one of them. Eventually, mistakes can become so rare an occurrence that you almost find yourself thankful for the opportunity to learn. Or so I've been told.
That's how it is for long-term interpersonal relationships like marriage as well.
The more time we spend around a close friend, spouse or even a business partner, the more likely we are to anticipate their needs and potential responses to our actions. In doing so, we find ourselves in a position to better serve the needs of that person, and of the relationship, without having to "fall down", apologize, and rebuild that trust again all the time. In time and with great patience, we become "experts" on that person, real authorities on what makes them tick, and what just ticks them off. We know their pleasure centers, and their hot buttons, and know how to navigate both with great skill. It's not about "control" or "manipulation", it's just about knowing the lay of the land and being able to navigate it properly. It is when we become experts on those around us that they, and we, are best served.
Likewise, that's how it is supposed to be in our relationship with God.
Being a "Christ-follower" isn't simply about attending a weekly service somewhere, tithing our 10% and living however we would like the rest of the time. It's about making the pursuit of a Christ-like life the primary focus of our lives. It's about learning everything there is to know about Jesus and letting Him have His Will and Way in our hearts and lives. It's about giving the King those keys to our kingdoms and letting Him reign on the thrones of our hearts and lives. Just as getting to know ourselves better can make us more graceful people, and getting to know those close to us can make us more graceful in those relationships, Jesus desires for us to let Him make us experts on Him so that we can become the creations we were made to be.
So that's how I believe it is supposed to be in our lives.
Like an excellent guide on a difficult exploration, it isn't in knowing the future that you can avoid most of the pitfalls in this life, but in having lived through them all before and recognizing them when they appear. This is who makes the best mentors, counselors and pastors; those who have already walked these miles and years in your shoes, who have lived to tell about it, and can help you walk through them in victory. This is who we are to be, in all aspects of our lives, experts on ourselves, on those around us, and on our King, so that in so becoming, we can blaze a path for those around us, that they may also find fulfillment is Christ.