Mistakes and onions

What do you do when you screw up; I mean, really step in it? That’s what I did recently. I made a big mistake, a whopper. I wasn’t thinking, I just had a brain fart. I blanked, I spaced out. I screwed the pooch.

The first thing I wanted to do is literally crawl in a hole and hide from everyone and cry. Guilt overwhelmed me. I felt like a giant jerk. And my brain went a hundred miles an hour trying to figure out how I could have been so stupid as to make that mistake. I mean, come on! I’m a 38-year-old, mature, responsible woman. I have a job, a family, I’m a relatively good person, but I SCREWED UP. Now what?

Well, I have a “this is how it ought to be,” and a “this is how it actually is.” Here’s a little of both. This particular time, I happened to have realized my mistake during a phone call. You know when you get that phone call where the person calling makes it abundantly clear that you screwed up? Yeah, it was that phone call.

It was in the morning, during my coffee ritual. And I was simultaneously making a pot of French onion soup. (Long story.) I had just chopped up 4 ginormous onions for the soup and had thrown them in the pot to start caramelizing when the phone rang. When I read the caller ID, I knew it. My heart dropped to my toes. When I began to appreciate the gravity of what I had done, I had to sit down.

So by the time I hit the red “end” button on my phone and locked the keypad frantically so there was no way anyone could hear me scream, I yelled a little. And then I smelled burning onions, and I yelled some more.

I had tears from onions and tears from the phone call.

After I collected myself and repented for saying a bad word (or 5) I salvaged the soup, put it on simmer, put the lid on it, and went upstairs to get dressed. It was silent in my bathroom as I was putting on makeup, but my thoughts were screaming.

The truth of the matter was, there was nothing I could do. I had apologized, I was truly sorry for the mistake. I had done all I could. But as we all know, that doesn’t always set us at ease and make it all better. The mind will replay it again and again: what they said, what you said, what you should have said, what you should not have said. And that’s when it hit me. I have an attorney. I have an advocate. I have someone who does have the ability to make it better. And that is the Holy Spirit.

You can’t rationalize your way into peace. I tried. I’ve tried many times. But asking the Lord for help and praying in the Spirit does bring peace. Always.

So I prayed . . . Lord, I really screwed up. I’m so sorry. Please help me to fix this. Please go before me and smooth this over. Please let the ones who were affected by this see that I made a mistake and I’m sorry. Please help me get through this and make it better.

And then I prayed in the Spirit for a few minutes, off and on until I finished getting ready and headed out the door. Within that time frame, I began to feel better. I began to feel my heart crawl out of that hole and my confidence began to come back up. The beating myself up stopped, the brain squeeze let up. I could breathe again.

I know that all sounds too easy . . . over-simplified, but it works. God wants to help us, but He won’t come unless He’s asked. He’s a gentleman.

I’m a simple girl. I mess up, I ask God for help, and He helps. I ask the Advocate to intervene on my behalf, and He does. I pray in the Spirit, and peace settles down on me. Try it. It’s a good feeling.

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