Ever wonder if you’ll get it right? Ever make the same mistake again and again? I certainly have. At times in my life, I have sensed the Lord whispering to me, “We’ll try this again…and again…because there’s a lesson here I really want you to get”. Sheesh! Those skinned knees hurt, don’t they? But I’ve learned my most profound lessons when I’ve fallen flat on my face. When it darned well hurt. A sage professor of mine used to say, “Confusion is your friend”. I fought and kicked against that until I finally “got” it (usually after more skinned knees). I interpreted that to mean that the state of confusion, if we’re attentive and open, is a heightened state of awareness. Anyone who’s watched a squirrel trying to decide in 0.5 seconds whether to dart to the left or right in the path of an oncoming car, knows that confusion is sharp, heightened awareness. Confusion requires us to attend….to be peeled open, asking questions, searching for helpful information. When I had to earn an A or a B in graduate-level Statistics class to earn a master of science degree, you can bet I was in a state of heightened awareness, listening, observing, taking copious notes (I’m a note-taker of the first order). Confusion was sometimes the order of the day and I had to be hypervigilant. But in that state, I learned, because I was open to receiving new information and actively seeking it.
Have you ever had the dawning moment where something went amiss, a moment or a day or a time in life was downright uncomfortable, or even painful, and the clear realization came to you that, “I have a choice here…I can choose how I react or respond to this. I can deny my fear, anger, hurt, confusion, shame, or I can sit in it, accept it, own it, and let it be just a part of me and not my identity and I can learn something from this. This pain does not dictate who or what I am or my worth.” I’ve had to do that. Dr. Brene’ Brown, a prominent expert on the topic of shame and vulnerability, writes, “Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” The key is to love ourselves right in the middle of the discomfort, breathing deeply, reaching deeply within, accepting that this moment will pass, that it does not define us, and our worth is not diminished. Even with skinned knees. The skinned knees are powerful teachers.