It takes courage to try a new skill. It takes even more courage to try a skill, fail miserably at it, and be willing to try a new one…especially when that supposed “failure” took place in front of countless eyes, laughing and commenting as you walked offstage or off of the basketball court. Having a strong desire to find purpose or meaning in life can embolden some to keep moving ahead in what they are gifted to do. And, there is something truly courageous in that…the willingness to step out and find out. This is truly a process, as many of us have experienced. And, sometimes, on the way to finding our purpose, it takes a few learning curves and embarrassing moments to teach us important lessons and direct us on the right path. We all have stories we can tell of things we have learned on our journey or things we had to overcome. One thing that Pete had to learn, though, is that purpose doesn’t define worth. He was struggling with that in this part of his journey, as many of us do at times. Let’s find out what Pete is learning on his way to finding his special place in the big picture. And, while we join him on this journey of discovery, we can be encouraged to find our special purpose, too.
Utter embarrassment…No other words to describe my last-ditch effort to feel accepted in Jigsaw. Singing was a disaster…Playing basketball was an “Epic Fail…”, now it was time for me to try art. As I walked toward Abby the Artist, I tried to reassure myself that if anyone could make me feel welcome, it was Abby. She had a kindness that always made everyone feel at ease. Although I didn’t know her well at this part of my story, I knew that if anyone could help me learn how to become a master artist, she certainly could.
Abby was well-known for her beautiful murals. People from all over town would come to her store and buy her art. She particularly loved going outside and painting the sky. Her apprentice, Izzy, was also well on her way to becoming an artist. Since she was already helping someone else learn, surely she could help me become an accomplished artist like Izzy.
The long walk from the basketball court helped give me the courage to approach Abby and Izzy as they stood outside on this incredibly sunny day at their art easels. The embarrassment I felt still lingered, though. When I asked Abby if I could paint with them, she said, “Of course!” and immediately handed me a paintbrush and paint. “Paint what you feel, Pete,” She said.
As I reached for the paint and tried to imitate Abby’s latest masterpiece, I noticed a drastic difference between hers and mine. First of all, I had no clue what I was doing. My painting looked sloppy, and when I looked at Abby’s, hers couldn’t have looked better. The more upset I got about how awful mine looked, the more I realized I had accidentally decorated myself with paint. I was covered in it!
I began to get increasingly frustrated. This was not at all what I had pictured happening. As I walked toward Abby’s easel to tell her I was finished, I forgot that paint buckets were on the ground near my feet, and I tripped over them, spilling paint everywhere. The frustration, combined with embarrassment, left me feeling deep disappointment …
“It’s OK, Pete!” Abby said in her usual sweet voice.
As hard as I tried to fight the tears, I walked off very sad…
“Embarrassment 103” combined all of my emotions: embarrassment, frustration, and sadness.
Singing, Basketball, and art were all complete failures on my part. And not even the nicest person in town could make me feel differently about it.
I had no idea what I was good at in a town filled with talent. I had to stop somewhere and process the events of Embarrassments 101-103, so I sat on the fence in front of my house and processed the past few days’ events.
Sometimes pressing pause and reflecting can be a good thing. However, in my case, I got a little too lost in my thoughts and emotions. This led me to make an emotional decision that I do not recommend to anyone. I was sitting on my fence contemplating leaving town. If you are symbolically sitting on the fence and about to make an emotional decision, I would recommend something that I had to learn the hard way: the best advice I can give you is to stop and pray, read the Bible, and look up Scriptures that remind you just how very loved you are. If I had known that…If I had accepted these truths for myself, I never would have left…
Maybe that’s how you feel, too. If so, Psalm 139 is a great chapter to read over yourself. God fearfully and wonderfully makes you, and you, my friend, are very special.
No matter how disappointed you may feel in this moment, hold on to these truths and know that you are here for a reason and have a very important purpose that only you can complete. The big picture is not the same without you.
Your Pal, Pete
Read Psalm 139 over you and a child and recite this declaration out loud and write it down:
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My purpose does not define my worth. I don’t need to be afraid about trying again. God leads my steps and will give me the strength to achieve my purpose.
Parents Talking Points:
- Talk to your child about times they may have felt embarrassed after trying something new. Have they ever felt that way? Reassure them that God has a specific plan for their life and that it takes courage to try a new hobby or skill.
- Remind your child that their purpose does not define their worth. God fearfully and wonderfully makes them. Take time to talk about Psalm 139 together.
- Talk with your child about not being afraid to try again, like Pete did, if they have experienced failure.
- Most importantly, pray with your child. Remind them that making emotional decisions can lead to regret. Pray with them about their specific purpose from the Lord. Take time to listen to their heart.