My youngest daughter had her first gymnastic meet of the season. At each meet, the goal is to get as close to an all-around score of 40 as possible. For my daughter's level, anything lower than a 36 is, to say the least, not a reason to rejoice. This means that she needs to average nothing less than a 9.0 on any event. She started the meet off on the uneven bars; not her strongest event. After her foot slipped from the bar, she was only able to earn a score of 8.6. We sank in our seats as we knew the chances of her averaging anything above a 36 for the night seemed dismal. We sat through the next three rotations and at the end of the evening she placed third all-around and earned a 36.75 all-around score! She went from a rough start and excelled at all the other events for the night. Ministry, likes this meet, has some difficult moments but here are a few things that made a difference for her tonight that I think can help us.
First, she refused to let one mistake determine her mood. Ministry is full of quick decisions. Submit this. Post this. Say that. Call this person. Disregard this complaint. Listen to that feedback. Sometimes those quick decisions work out well but sometimes they cause a "slip" and we wish we could take them back. When those quick decisions cause a slip, we cannot allow it to alter our mood. We must be willing to try again and move on.
Second, her coach stood beside her telling her to shake it off. It is critical to have mentors in ministry that don't hold mistakes over your head. Everyone has said something they wish they could take back or missed a moment that they wished they clutched onto. A good coach knows when the weight of our own mistakes is already on our shoulders and, instead of adding more, encourages us to shake it off and move on.
Third, she moved on to what was in front of her. Not just physically but mentally and emotionally. She had to focus on the next events - beam, floor, and then vault - or else she would have continued to make more mistakes that evening causing her overall score to drop more. We cannot focus on what was. Only what is. If you make a mistake, keep the overall goal in mind, shake it off, and keep aiming to what is in front of you.
Ministry is fast-paced and sometimes things change from moment-to-moment. There will be evenings when the perfect 40 is just out of reach. Lead anyway! Don't leave the meet! No matter the mistake that happened...no matter how far out of reach it seems...the goal is the same. To lead in such a way that brings glory to God and points people to Jesus. When we mess up, and inevitably we will, we cannot afford to stay there too long. Refuse to let one mistake determine your mood. Listen to the voice of an encouraging coach. And then proceed to the next thing you can do to move successfully toward the ultimate goal.