It's time to start living fully instead of just trying not to fail. #YoureLovedNoMatterWhat

Gymnasts practice their routines over and over again. By the time they get to the world competition level, their performances are expected to be flawless. Yet Shawn Johnson hit what could have been a serious snag in her career at an important moment. She says in Winning Balance, “That day when I went up for the beam, I fell twice in the same routine. This, of course, is unheard of. If you fall, you fall. But normally you don’t fall twice . . . especially in the event finals.”

Devastated and with more of the competition to go, Shawn walked back into the training gym to talk with her coach, Chow. He said, “Mistakes are mistakes. . . . Something was simply off.” Then he added, “You know, things happen. Mistakes happen. But it’s time to pick yourself up. You have another event.”

Shawn Johnson took her coach’s words to heart and went on to finish competing that day. She eventually became an Olympic gold medalist. Her coach understood this: without mistakes, we don’t get better. Shawn didn’t intentionally sabotage her routine. She wasn’t being rebellious. She was simply being human. There’s a distinct difference between a mistake and a sin.

Mistakes help us learn.

Sin is a choice we deliberately make even though we know better.

Mistakes are done with innocence.

Sin comes from a heart that holds rebellion.

Mistakes lead to growth.

Sin leads to decay.

Not only will you make mistakes, you must make mistakes. That’s the way babies learn to walk, kids find out how to ride bikes, and grown-ups figure out how to find their way in the world.

As Shawn Johnson learned, the only way to stand tall is to accept that sometimes you will fall. When you make mistakes, God doesn’t condemn you. He says what Shawn’s coach did: “Pick yourself up. You have another event.” You will hear that over and over until you’re home in heaven.

But sometimes we don’t do what Shawn did. Instead we say, “I totally ruined everything. I’ve let down the people who loved and invested in me. I didn’t meet the expectations. I’m not living up to my potential. In order to keep from being a further disappointment, I’m stepping out of the arena altogether.” Then we live safe, mediocre lives and breathe big sighs of relief because while we’re not doing anything really great, at least we’re not failing.

Listen, friend, that kind of thinking doesn’t come from your heavenly Father. It comes from the enemy of your soul who would love nothing more than to see you stop using your gifts, strengths, and skills to make a difference in the world.

Because here’s the secret: in the kingdom of God, as long as you’re still fighting, you’re winning. God doesn’t hand out medals for performance. He hands out crowns for perseverance. The Olympics began in ancient Rome, and it’s likely the apostle Paul had them in mind when he said, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Cor. 9:25).

Practice doesn’t make perfect, because that’s impossible this side of heaven. Practice makes a person who will try again, and that’s what God desires. No matter how far or how often you’ve fallen, you can still get back up today. Can your heart hear the cheers as you do?


Holley Gerth

From You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to be Perfect

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photo by my friend at Hiking Toward Home

photo by my friend at Hiking Toward Home


Welcome to the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! You’re an encourager so I’m asking you to pour out a little love with your words every Wednesday {link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to to see all the fun and join in too.

Giveaway and Optional Writing Prompt: For the next few weeks, the Wednesday posts are going to be about getting free from the pressure to be perfect. I’ll have an optional writing prompt for you about that topic. If you write about it, link up and include my new book You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect in your post somewhere, you’ll be entered to win a God’s Heart for You necklace {U.S. residents only}. Thanks to DaySpring for providing the necklaces! Congratulations to Nicole Blean for winning last week! If you don’t have a blog, you can share today’s post on Facebook, leave a comment here saying you did and answer the prompt in your comment.

The prompt for today was: What’s one thing that helps you say “no” to what’s good so you can say “yes” to God’s best?

Next Wednesday’s prompt is: Who has inspired you because of their perseverance?

Pretty please use this button in your blog post so others can easily join in with us {html code in right sidebar}. And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!


I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth

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About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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