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Michel: Masterpieces can come from mistakes

What do Post It notes, pacemakers and ink jet printers have in common?

All of these successful products were the result of mistakes.

Learning to press on despite what we believe to be failure is a valuable skill. It’s OK to fail, but it’s not OK to quit.

Jonas Salk tried 200 unsuccessful polio vaccines. When asked how it felt to fail so many times, he said, “I just discovered 200 ways how not to vaccinate for polio.”

One of the challenges of teaching art to first graders was turning a perfectionist into an artist.

All too often, as soon as one mistake was made, the student wanted to start over.

Rarely lacking art supplies, I refused the request simply because I wanted the child to dig deeper and figure out a way to redeem their mistake.

I would kneel next to the student, and we would work together to find a way to make something beautiful out of the mess. We didn’t quit until we had a masterpiece.

In much the same way, I have made a habit of bringing my mistakes to God and asking Him to work through them. I trust God to show me how to go beyond my mistakes, learn from them, and even turn the experience into a beautiful life-lesson.

Whenever this happens, I remember a song that I heard over 30 years ago.

Something beautiful, something good, all my confusion, He understood.

All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, and He made something beautiful out of my life.

Failing to bring our mistakes to the Master so that He can turn our lives into a masterpiece might be the greatest failure of all.

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.