Necessary Mistakes

I subscribe to this blog called Thought Catalog, so when I came on wordpress today it showed up in my blog feed thing. The article of the day was entitled, “Make Mistakes Every Day”. I’m the type of person who talks to the TV and commercials, comments on other people’s conversations, and remarks about absurdities in books, completely uninvited. It’s one of my favorite pastimes! So needless to say, when I saw this headline I couldn’t help but responding (to myself and by myself…do I have a problem?), “I do”.

For the most part, the article is talking about being comfortable in your own skin and being willing to fall flat on your face at times. I’m over that. That’s my life. But the kicker comes in one of the later paragraphs: “the worst mistake we can possibly make is to sacrifice what we want or need for the sake of others.” 

Granted, the author is specifically referencing coffee shop etiquette where it seems more appropriate to take the bad coffee instead of ask for exactly what you want. I get that. I get that in some instances, like when you order food or when you’re spending money for a service, you should get things the way you want them. But honestly, even in those instances I don’t think the self-sacrifice is such a big deal. I imagine, generally, the comment is supposed to offer a new perspective on Valentine’s Day, a perspective that says ‘put yourself before everyone else or else’. I may be totally misinterpreting the message behind this article but it seems to me that the author would rather have us move toward a life of self-elevation instead of one where we humble ourselves and consider others better than ourselves. As my West Virginian friend would say, that dog don’t hunt.

I imagine if Jesus had read Thought Catalog before his long trek to the cross. If he had read this article and decided, ‘you know what, I’m not going to lay down my life for these ungrateful people. I won’t pay the ultimate price so that they may be counted as righteous before my father.’ Or if, like the author, he said, ‘We can’t endure suffering for others to be comfortable.‘ The greatest mistake we could ever make is not to sacrifice our wants or needs for others. The greatest mistake we could ever make is to sacrifice others for our own wants and needs.

Love isn’t doing what’s best for yourself, that’s not what today is all about. Love is about giving everything to someone else. It’s about carrying their load when they need the help, it’s about missing that meeting to support them, it’s about suffering embarrassment on their behalf, it’s about laying down your life so that they could enjoy theirs. This isn’t Hollywood’s version of love. It’s not a watered-down understanding of love. This is Christ’s love. This is how we should love.

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays because it’s the only one devoted to love that everyone can celebrate. It’s true, Christmas and Easter are about God’s love for us and we usually associate Thanksgiving with familial love but Valentine’s Day is different. Anyone can celebrate Valentine’s Day and it’s just a good excuse for me to love my friends and family extra well.

It’s gorgeous, it’s beautiful, I love it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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