Tammy Helfrich

Encourage. Empower. Connect.

Lessons in a Dark Theater

From Tammy: I am excited to have my friend Eileen Knowles guest posting today. I love the name of her blog, The Scenic Route. Eileen is a recovering perfectionist who has learned and continues to learn the beauty of stepping out from behind her mask and admitting how she is need of God’s grace every single day. She has an incredible story of how she ran away from God for a decade after her Mom’s death.  It resulted in divorce, addiction, and debt. She has spent the last decade running back to God. She now uses her story to encourage others to make something beautiful out of their mess. You can follow her on Twitter here.

“A man who never made a mistake never did anything.”

This is the quote that had me taking out my iPhone and typing in the dark theater while watching the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid with my son recently.  I had to get it down.

I wasn’t going to make the same mistake I made a few weeks ago when I saw the newest Spiderman and Aunt May said these wise words to Peter Parker:

“Secrets have a cost.  They’re not free…not now, not ever.”

For fear of looking like the goofball using my phone while watching the film, I made the mistake of not recording the quote when I heard it.  By the time the movie ended, I had forgotten exactly how it went.  I had to spend time searching the internet when I arrived home to find the quote again.  That’s how I am.

Finding lost words is like searching for a set of lost keys.  I can’t rest until I find them and put them where they belong.

I love the lesson tucked away even in this little story.  Mistakes are meant to be learned from.   I learned that I sometimes allow the what will people think of me fear to still dictate my decisions. Really, Eileen…even at this age?  It’s so silly.  It’s weird how I feel like I’ve made huge strides in this area of people pleasing and then I go and make an insecure choice like this.

The next time I was faced with the same decision, I chose to do what I knew I had to do.  My mistake taught me this.

Photo credit: Creative Commons

Making mistakes are an important part of really living  You can’t grow without them.  The biggest lessons I have learned in life have always come on the heels of major wrong choices.   As a recovering perfectionist, I hate mistakes.  And yet, I know I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today without having chosen poorly, confronted the choice, and made a better choice.

This is one of the beautiful parts about life, the power to make choices.   I love this quote from Seth Godin:

“If you think you have no choice but to do what you do now, you’ve already made a serious error.”

You always have choices…even in the midst of your biggest failure when you are staring at the brick wall in front of you and wondering how you got there.  You still have choices.

The power to choose in life shines the light of hope into the darkest of circumstances.  The power to choose propels us out of our stuck-ness and beyond a life we’ve fearfully settled for.

What has a recent mistake taught you?

How have you grown because of your mistakes?


  1. Thanks for having me today, Tammy!

  2. how much time do you have? :) I have made so many mistakes I’m not sure where and which one to focus on. Good word today Eileen. Thanks Tammy for having her.

  3. What a great reminder! I love the verse in 2 Timothy 2:13 that speaks about the fact that God remains faithful even when we are faithless. God is faithful to us even when we do make the wrong choice…even when we make several of them!

  4. Great post, Eileen. Thanks for hosting, Tammy. I am learning from mistakes daily. That means I am making mistakes daily to have sufficient errors to learn from. Some come and go and others are lingering for years. Jeez, what do I need to learn from this so I can put it to rest already.

  5. I’ve made a ton of mistakes. Basically, good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.

  6. Eileen,

    I recently (yesterday) made the mistake of making someone feel horrible for their sin. While my words were coming from a pure place, I should have chosen them a little more carefully. I am learning now, that every mistake deserves grace and so do the messes I create.

    Everyday I’m growing. Yet, there are times when I fall into my same pattern of thinking and doing. I have the choice to either repent, press forward, or throw in the towel. I’m choosing to keep moving and be thankful that God gives me so many chances to get things right again.

    God will and can bless our mistakes, we just have to admit them first.

    Thank you for this post, Eileen. This is another confirmation from the Lord that I need to get my act together :)

    Love you.

  7. Making a lot of mistakes here. Learning a lot of ways not to do life here. Blessed and thanks for sharing!

  8. I tell you, I am still a perfectionist and it kills me to make a mistake. I beat myself up royally. Great post friend, loved it. :)

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