Growing up, perfection was always the goal. The goal was not simply to be good, but perfect. Getting 100 on a test was worthy of praise, anything less was worthy of shame.
The shame of these mistakes pushed me into a more passive lifestyle, if I don’t try so many things, then I won’t make as many mistakes. However, in avoiding the mistakes of action, I was committing the mistake of inaction.
The problem with avoiding mistakes is that you also avoid growth.
This was something that I became aware of the summer of 2016.
I was planning on working, living around my college friends, and pour into the community there, continuing to point them to Christ. But then I received a message that caused me to freeze.
“Hey Tim, the Leadership Team here at YWAM Maui has asked me to lead the fall DTS. We are looking for another guy DTS staff and I was wondering if you would be interested in coming back on staff for at least 6 months to lead a team”
I felt so conflicted. I felt like I had two good options in front of me. I asked the Lord, but He didn’t make anything clear. My mom found me still staring at the computer screen a few minutes later. I filled her in, and asked if she would pray with me. After a few minutes of praying, she told me these immortal words of wisdom:
‘Do what’s harder, and that’s where you will grow more.’
It was then I knew that I had to DTS staff. As hard as it would be to make a living, and pour into my friends in my spare time, DTS staffing terrified me. My mistakes would not affect just me, but others, and the consequences threaten to last a lifetime.
The reality is that I was struggling with the burden of the shame associated with just failing out of college. As I staffed, I continued to wrestle with the whispers in my mind, “This mistake means you’re a bad leader.” “You should quit.” “It’s over, leave, they’re better off without you.”
I expected to be put in a lower position. I expected to be talked down to. I expected shameful confrontations.
But it never happened.
I was welcomed into the community with open arms and genuine smiles. I was treated as an equal, and with respect. The confrontations were never for shame, but for growth.
Not to tear down, but to build up.
This is still the grace I’m experiencing, serving underneath leaders who are passionately chasing after Jesus. I have learned that my mistakes do not disqualify me, but offer an opportunity to grow.
Perfection on this side of heaven is overrated, because outside of Jesus it doesn’t truly exist. We’re not perfect, so why should we expect perfection from ourselves?
With each mistake, we are presented with a choice. Will we sit in shame, and wither under self-pity? Or will we run to Jesus, and grow under His grace?
By Tim Song
YWAM Maui Staff