Unfortunately, we all make mistakes. I have made my fair share of mistakes which has fueled my determination to figure out how to learn from mistakes.
When we are committed to learning from mistakes, it eases the discomfort mistakes cause.
We can get past our feelings of disappointment and disillusionment and balance missteps with the lessons we learn. We can gain wisdom from our past and move on to our future wiser and humbled.
Waiting for the circus ringmaster to begin the show or should I say, “the greatest show on earth”, our kids squirmed and giggled with anticipation. My husband returned with our concessions and leaned over to hand me our tray of snacks and drinks.
We made one crucial mistake in that transfer that instantly changed our memories of that day. Our handoff wasn’t the best.
My husband let go of the tray before I had a good grip. Popcorn and soft drinks flew through the air landing on our family and a couple of innocent bystanders.
We were all drenched in Coca-Cola & Sprite which is not the best way to watch the greatest show on earth!
That’s how mistakes happen. We don’t plan our mistakes; we don’t like the consequences of our mistakes but we can’t avoid mistakes.
How to learn from your mistakes is a lifelong process because even if we never make the same mistake twice, there will be other bumps in the road.
Relative to the many mistakes I have made in my life, the cascading drinks seem insignificant, but on that day it was huge. Regardless of the size of the mistake, we have to learn how to deal with and move on from our mistakes.
How to Learn from Mistakes in Relationships
Mistakes in relationships are especially hard because someone can get hurt. If we focus on how to learn from our mistakes in relationships, we will have success maintaining healthy relationships.
On the other hand, if we get stuck rehashing and holding onto our mistakes or those of others it can ruin our relationships.
I have wonderful relationships that have grown stronger after the fallout of a mistake. A misguided judgment, response, or omission can be remedied with a sincere heart. Here are some typical and common mistakes we make in relationships:
- When we mistakenly reveal a surprise or secret
- When we mistakenly exclude someone from a party
- When we mistakenly forget to respond to a text
- When we mistakenly forget to complete a job or errand that someone is waiting for
We’ve all made or been on the losing side of these mistakes that leave us feeling hurt and devalued. But we can redeem our mistakes in relationships by sincerely apologizing, forgiving, and making amends. This helps you learn from your past instead of developing unhealthy patterns.
How to learn from your mistakes in relationships requires a humble spirit that is committed to loving unconditionally and valuing the person we have hurt above the right to be in control.
How to Learn from Your Mistakes and Move On
How to learn from your mistakes and move on is important so we don’t relive mistakes in our minds. At some point, we have to decide to let mistakes go and stop thinking and talking about the mistake and its consequences.
The bigger the mistake, the loss or pain it causes, the harder it is to learn from your mistake and move on.
Some friends and I were in San Francisco enjoying a girls’ trip. We were excited to be together and enjoy the city. We parked our car near a popular tourist spot and quickly jumped out. After a few minutes, we returned and were shocked to see our car windows shattered.
Someone had stolen our bags. When we reported the incident, the policeman said, “you never leave valuables on the seat of a car in full view”
We had made a mistake and paid dearly.
That day we had to quickly learn from our mistake and move on or ruin the rest of the trip. Because of our loss, we learned and can share our story to help others avoid the same mistake.
Here are 5 steps I use to help me process how to learn from your mistakes and move on:
Step 1: Analyze how the mistake happened
Step 2: Come up with a plan to avoid the mistake recurring
Step 3: Decide to let it go
Step 4: If you get stuck, pray for God to help you release the mistake from your mind
Step 5: Use the lessons you learned from your mistake to help others avoid making the same mistake
Because we are unable to prevent mistakes or control outcomes, we can get caught in a vicious cycle. But when our identity is in Christ, He is willing and able to redeem our mistakes.
He doesn’t remove the mistake but can make beauty from the ashes.
How about you? Is there a mistake you are holding onto that God needs to redeem?
We can start by connecting moments of God’s faithfulness in our life instead of connecting our mistakes.
How God Redeems our Mistakes
The hope we can cling to after a misstep is that God redeems our mistakes. When God redeems a mistake, He is compensating for our fault.
That is what Jesus did on the cross. He compensated for all of our faults or mistakes once and for all.
Amidst the sorrow of a mistake, we can hear the loudest echo of God’s mercy and stand on His grace to be set free.
We don’t always know how God redeems our mistakes but recognizing that no mistake is too big for God leaves us with peace. No one is too far gone or has too many failures to be redeemed by God.
God redeems our mistakes and helps us fulfill our purpose and call to glorify Jesus by the way we live our lives. Here are 6 ways how God redeems our mistakes:
Refined by God
When we learn from mistakes, we are reminded of our flaws and can be refined by God and some of our impurities removed. This is one of the most amazing ways God redeems our mistakes.
“For you, God tested us; you refined us like silver.”
Psalm 66:10 NIV
Reliance on God
When we learn from our mistakes, we are reminded of our humanity and imperfections. It helps us move from self-reliance to reliance on God. We are able to rest in God’s acceptance and love for us when we realize our failures do not define us.
Humility Before God
Humility is thinking less of ourselves. When we learn from our mistakes, it leads us to find humility before God. It is easy to become prideful and arrogant especially after success. Mistakes serve the great purpose of protecting our humility.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Proverbs 11:2 NIV
Find Godly Contentment
Finding Godly contentment or soul satisfaction is an elusive journey when we run from success to success. But when we fail or make a mistake we are able to see what really matters through the haze of our disappointment.
Servant of God
The word servant is usually attached to a negative connotation. But in God’s kingdom to be a servant to be esteemed in His eyes. Jesus served the sick, the hungry, and the emotionally bankrupt. When we follow His example, we can learn from mistakes that to serve others especially in the name of Christ is much more fulfilling than to serve our own interests.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
Obedience to God
The final way God redeems mistakes is probably the most important. When we make mistakes, we learn the importance of obedience to God. Similar to when a child touches a hot stove after a warning and learns from his mistake, we learn to obey God. We are then more in tune with the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction.
“You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him, hold on to him for dear life!”
Deuteronomy 13:4 MSG
Bible Verses about Learning from Mistakes
We can feel discouraged and uninspired after a mistake. But there are many Bible verses about learning from mistakes that can help us feed our soul and elevate our spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:11-12 MSG
“These are all warning markers, danger, in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”
Proverbs 24:16 NLT
“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.”
Philippians 3:12-14 NLT
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Romans 8:28 ESV
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
James 1:2-4 ESV
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Psalm 145:14 NLT
“The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.”
Why is Learning From Mistakes Important?
Learning from mistakes is important for our emotional and spiritual growth. Sometimes we are able to see God weaving His purpose through our life more clearly through our mistakes.
We are encouraged when we read about those who have gone before us and have learned from their mistakes and moved on to do great things.
There are stories of wise people in the Bible who made mistakes. There are characters who were humbled and embraced how to learn from their mistakes and grow in their relationship with God and make a big impact in the world.
Three characters in the Bible understood why learning from mistakes is important; Abraham, Joseph, and King David were chosen by God to fulfill His promise and in the lineage of Jesus. Scripture records the opportunities each faced to learn from mistakes,
Abraham made the mistake of trying to control God’s covenant of a promised heir by having a child with Hagar.
Joseph made the mistake of boasting and becoming arrogant about his father’s love.
David made the mistake of being idle and giving into temptation.
But because they all learned from mistakes, God redeemed them, His purpose was fulfilled and He was glorified through Abraham, Joseph, and King David.
In the same way, we can be released from the doubt and guilt that often follow mistakes and cause a cloud over our freedom. God’s mercy can remove the lingering effects of our past mistakes and give us the courage to persevere in our purpose.
What have you learned from your mistakes? Would love to hear from you in the comments.