I don't shrug off my past mistakes as if they never happened. Nor do I neglect to take responsibility for them. I'm not proud of them, but they've led me to the place I am today. I wish I could've had more patience raising my children and I wish I could have been a better husband. I know through the years I've upset people in church too. At age 45, I finally have the maturity to see my earlier years of hubris.
In my 30's I really thought I had all the answers. Now, I see just how many answers I was wrong about.
Whether it was marriage, raising kids, or how to minister to a congregation, I have the humility now to see I wasn't right all the time, about everything. I wasn't the expert I thought I was...
For example. Before, I felt that any advice I had for people I was counseling was golden, and if they rejected it, it infuriated me. Now, I'm quite at peace when people choose not to make healthy changes. Strangely, I no longer feel it's my responsibility to change or fix people.
Similarly, I don't feel responsible for people who reject the Gospel. For many years I felt it was my personal responsibility to save the world. There was one Messiah, and He died on the cross. I can only point people to the cross, I can't carry them there.
God has revealed a lot to me this year; 2013 has been eye opening for me.
I feel today I'm more pastoral than ever. Which, with my heritage feels awkward to say, but it is what it is.
I saw my role in the past as that of the prophet (not foreseer of the future), the guy who spoke for God to shake things up and get people back on track. I felt the responsibility lay on solely my shoulders to stand for Truth and to correct the imperfections in the church world. Now, I just want to worship God in peace, and be at peace.
I no longer feel I'm an expert on anything, instead, this year has taught me I'm only a lifelong learner. Lesson number one, learn from my mistakes? Not so much so. Instead, lesson number one, I'm making my share of mistakes and that's part of the process. Yes, that's a good starting point going into 2014 for me.