The hustle of a restaurant surrounds me. I’m caught up in conversation until the exclamation point of dishes clattering to the floor interrupts. Everyone in the room turns to stare. A young waitress is stooped over, tears in her eyes, wiping up glasses of spilled water.
A coworker rushes to her side to help and says, “It will be okay. I’ll show you how to balance your tray next time.” Turning to the rest of the room the more experienced waitress offers an explanation, “She’s in training.” The room nods in understanding and gets back to their meals.
Haven’t we all been that waitress?
We start something new. Maybe a even a God-sized dream. We try so hard and have such good intentions.
And then we mess up.
The temptation is to throw our apron on the floor and run out the door.
Or hide in the kitchen the rest of the night.
Maybe point to the wrinkle in the rug and say, “It’s not my fault.”
Those responses come from deep fears and false beliefs. We think that to be successful or help others we can’t mess up.
But I’m here to tell you the opposite is true: to be successful and help others you must mess up.
It’s the only way you learn.
And letting others see your mistakes helps them learn too.
So if you drop your tray today, here’s what you can do…
Since you’re already on your knees, take a moment to pray and ask God for his perspective on this situation. If there’s sin involved, confess and make it right. If it’s simply a human mistake, ask what you can learn.
Then ‘fess up as quickly as possible to those who are watching. Say, “I’m in training. I don’t know how to do this but I want to learn. I need help.”
Then receive any feedback that’s offered, especially from those with more experience than you. And apply it.
If you drop the tray again, repeat the process.
We all fail our way to success.
There’s simply no other way to go about it.
If you look at someone and can’t see their “drop the tray” moments it’s not because they don’t have them. It’s because they’re hiding them. And in doing so, they’re holding back a gift from you.
So let’s be generous with others by sharing our mistakes with them.
And gentle with ourselves by receiving the grace that God has freely given.
We’re all learning to serve together.
And one dropped tray at a time we’re getting better.