My friend and I met for coffee to discuss an upsetting event. She made a mistake that could have resulted in tragedy but did not. However, the incident did point out a shortcoming or two of hers that resulted in experiencing some painful consequences.
She was distraught. She was ashamed of her mistake; she was angry that her efforts to correct her error did not result in the immediate suspension of her consequences; she was thrown into recovery chaos. As an experienced practitioner of the 12 Step way, she had some awesome tools and the wisdom to use them.
“I realized that I kept saying to myself - God is punishing me for being a stupid, stupid, little girl.” These are lies and she knew it, but her mind kept repeating the thought.
Upon reflection, with the support of her team, she investigated and could not find definitive support for these habitual thoughts. She made a mistake and it was hers to own. She is not stupid - in fact, she is quite brilliant and that is objectively provable. She is neither little or a girl. She is a grown up woman. She is not immune from natural consequences.
As she reviewed her thoughts and feelings, she found a way through her suffering. She believed that restoration was possible which got her curious. How might restoration work? Her experience helped her figure that out. She rejected her habitual way of lamenting and replaced that with different thoughts - I am a woman who made a mistake; I am capable of changing; I can take responsibility for my part in this and trust that God will restore me in the process. Energized with this more hopeful perspective, she got busy and did a host of things in a sincere effort to right her past wrongs.
They cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for me, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.
~ Psalm 107:13-16 NIV
My friend rocks.