Mistakes That Made Me Grow
In his book The Wit and Wisdom of Richard Needham, Richard Needham says that strong people make as many and as ghastly mistakes as weak people. The difference is that strong people admit them, laugh at them, learn from them. That is how they become strong.
Richard Needham has set me thinking about the mistakes I have made so far in life. And unlike before when I would sometimes feel guilty for committing those mistakes, I will now laugh at them. Would you love to hear about some of the mistakes I have done? Okay, let me tell you about them.
Earlier on in this decade, there were times I would feel very excited. And in those moments of excitement, I would text and call people on phone or post some stuff on Facebook that I would later on feel ashamed of. Maybe I suffered from manic-depressive disorder, a mental illness that makes people overly talkative during manic periods, often going rapidly from one topic of conversation to another.
For instance, at one time in 2011 when going through those moments of excitement, I texted some of my fellow choristers at All Saints' Cathedral telling them loads of nonsense which I thought was funny. Some of them didn't take it kindly. And one complained that she was feeling harassed by my messages. A month or so later, some of the choristers who weren't impressed by the messages I had been sending them summoned me for a meeting in which they expressed their displeasure at what I had been telling them via phone. I must have been a foolish young man because I still continued texting and calling people whenever I felt exhilarated.
Like at another time in 2013 when I was on cloud nine, I decided to call a high school class-mate of mine called Lawrence who is now a doctor. I somehow came to like Lawrence during our high school years; that's why I gave him a buzz.
Guess what! When Lawrence received my call, I ended up talking to him in a loud manner about irrelevant stuff. Imagine in spite of me talking loudly out there in the field, he complained he couldn't hear me properly. Maybe network issues came into play but I am of the opinion that he couldn't hear me properly because I was telling him silly things in an unkind way. And I came to realize that Lawrence wasn't impressed with me at all.
Later on in 2016, I tried to make up for that error of judgement by calling Lawrence again. I intended to show him that I had matured up by conversing with him in a calm, relaxed way about relevant stuff. He didn't receive my calls.
Coming back to that year 2013, there was yet another time in those moments of excitement that I sent an abusive, unprintable message to a fellow chorister at All Saints' Cathedral called Ruth Wangire. Please allow me to tell you a little more about her.
I first met Ruth Wangire in May 2007 when I joined the All Saints' Cathedral 9.30am English service choir. She became a good friend of mine who always tried to draw out the best in me. Like she always encouraged me to accompany hymns on the organ during church services. And later on in 2008 when I messed up at the university, she was among the first choristers to show interest in what had happened to me.
Then come to that time in 2013 I have told you about, I sent her an abusive, unprintable message without her having done anything wrong to me. I really don't know what was going through in my head as I sent Ruth that message. All I can say now is that whenever I felt exhilarated, I had a courage (or should I say a weakness?) to say or write stuff that I would later on feel ashamed of. I think I suffered from manic-depressive disorder for shizzle.
As in the case with Lawrence, I later on tried to make up for that error of judgement by calling Ruth to show her I had matured up. Last year when I contacted her intending to apologize to her and update her on what I was doing with my life, she neither received my calls nor responded to my text messages. Since we no longer meet in church, I am just hoping she forgave me.
Yes, I have made many mistakes over the last ten years especially when feeling very happy. These days, I am always endeavouring to control my enthusiasm by refraining from talking and writing too much to people when I am on cloud nine. And I have resolved to always be asking myself before talking, "Does the other person need to hear this?"
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Applying Biblical Teachings
When Jesus was about to commence preaching and ministering to people, He was led by the spirit of God into the desert to be tempted by the devil. But before getting tempted, He went without food for forty days and forty nights till He was very hungry.
I am thinking that Jesus was starved for forty days and forty nights so that He would be very weak by the time the devil was tempting Him. From experience, I know the devil is more likely to succeed in tempting us when we are weak than when we are strong. For example, it is when we are bored, bitter or stressed that we are likely to overeat or indulge in filthy, immoral activities.
But you know what? Even though Jesus was at His weakest when the devil began tempting Him, He succeeded in overcoming the temptations. The story is in the Book of Matthew.
What I find enlightening about that story of the temptation of Jesus is how He quoted the Scriptures. Like when the devil asked Him to convert stones to bread so that He could satisfy His hunger pangs, Jesus replied, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Deuteronomy 8:3)
I have also decided to borrow a leaf from Jesus by quoting the Bible in the day-to-day temptations that the devil takes us through. Here's how I will be doing it:
If bitterness creeps into my soul when I think of how others have mistreated or spoken rudely to me, I will tell myself, "It is written: 'Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.'" (Ephesians 4:31-32)
If I fear to say 'no' to something I feel is not right or intended to take advantage of me, I will instil myself with courage by saying: "It is written: 'For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline.'" (2nd Timothy 1:7)
If I happen to feel afraid of a person I find tough and loud-mouthed, I will infuse myself with valour by reminding myself, "It is written: 'Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the Earth...?'" (Isaiah 50:12-13)
If I begin to despair that things are not working out, I will say to myself, "It is written: 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11)
If I start to fear that I may come to utter ruin, shame and poverty if my ventures fail, I will remind myself, "It is written: 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.'" (Deuteronomy 31:6)
If I begin to worry that I may lose loved ones through death, I will say to myself, "It is written: 'Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.'" (Proverbs 3:25)
If I start feeling guilty over some of the things I have done or said in the past, I will tell myself, "It is written: 'Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.'" (Isaiah 43:18)
If I feel like giving full vent to anger when someone provokes me, I will remind myself: "It is written: 'A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is his glory to overlook an offence.'" (Proverbs 19:11)
If I start worrying about what I will eat and wear when my current supply runs out, I will say to myself: "It is written: 'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear ... your heavenly Father knows that you need them.'" (Matthew 6:25-34)
If I begin feeling envious and jealous of what others are achieving, I will tell myself, "It is written: 'Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.'" (1st Corinthians 13:4)
If I start worrying about anything, I will remind myself, "It is written: 'Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! ... Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.'" (Philippians 4:4-7)
And finally, if I begin to fear my own death, I will say to myself: "It is written: 'So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. Then afterword when my life is through, I will return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!'" (Psalms 23:6).
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