In the middle of nowhere, enjoying the fire, I suddenly smelled pizza. I asked my husband if he thought someone nearby ordered delivery. As he laughed and explained the ridiculousness of that question, I felt a searing pain on my leg. I looked down and a spark from the fire had burned through my pants and had reached my flesh. We found the source of the aroma. Who knew I smelled like pizza when set on fire?!
Although I was burned, I treated it with balm and gave it time to heal. Mistakes sometimes feel like a burn. But many times I don’t treat the burn properly:
• I pick at the burn – Reliving and beating myself up over my mistakes. Making it fester by not forgiving myself.
• Living with the burn – Not dealing with the mistake. Ignoring and learning to live with the pain, inadvertently magnifying the scar.
• I put butter on the burn – Attempting to fix my mistakes in the wrong way. Making excuses and placing blame on others, prolonging the burn.
Recently, I visited Colorado, staying in a house with a beautiful view of Pikes Peak. On the last day as I admired the view, I began to realize the burn zone from the 2012 Colorado fires was just in front of Pikes Peak. An amazing sight I had not noticed until now!
The view of the burn zone against the majestic Pikes Peak provided a lesson in dealing with my burns (mistakes) correctly:
• Deal with burns swiftly – Taking responsibility and not making excuses brings a swift end to what otherwise can turn into an out-of-control fire. Asking forgiveness from God and others is vital to stopping the burn. Forgiving self is integral to healing!
• The majestic softens the look of the burn – Mistakes are ugly but against the majesty of God, they become part of the beautiful landscape of His grace.
“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3a
• Burns stimulate growth – Mistakes provide learning opportunities. If we learn, we grow. We can also help others by allowing them to see our burns and share how we healed. This spreads growth.
“ We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts…” Romans 5:3-5
Being human, nobody gets through life without getting burned by their mistakes. But there is hope and healing for those burns. The ash clouds will clear and the sun will shine again.
“…He rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope, restoring dignity and respect to their lives—
a place in the sun!” 1 Samuel 2:8 (MSG)
@2012 Connie Davis Johnson