Don’t Let Mistakes Define You

Do you beat yourself up for making mistakes?

I was at the grocery store last week and purposely chose a checkout lane manned by one of my favorite cashiers. Alice is fast and friendly and packs my stuff like an engineer. I love going through her lane and told her so.

But as I looked over my receipt on my way out of the store, I realized she hadn’t credited me for a five-dollar coupon.

Ugly Self-Talk

I wheeled my cart back to Alices lane and explained the sitch. Her face fell as she flipped through coupons in her drawer. “Is this it?” she said sharply as she thrust the coupon at me.

“It is, thank you,” I said. “Sorry for the trouble.”

As she turned away from me, she snarled to herself, “I do everything wrong!”

Moments earlier, we’d had a pleasant exchange. I’d chosen her. Smiled at her. Complimented her. Affirmed her. Then boom! It had all shifted over an innocent oversight.

I was shocked, but then I realized that it hadn’t been all that long ago that I might have reacted the same way.

Be kind to yourself

When our reaction to correction or being questioned or critiqued results in a personal assault on who we are, rather than what we did, we need to make adjustments to silence our inner critic and stop being our own worst enemy.

The Bible says to take every thought captive (see 2 Corinthians 10:5). If you don’t boss your thoughts, those thoughts will boss you and hold you hostage.

You are a masterpiece

Remember, you are the unique and wonderful creation of God Almighty. Created on purpose for a purpose. You’ve been designed to carry God’s image and participate in his good work on the earth.

Everyone falters and everyone fails. That does not make you a failure. Instead of calling yourself stupid, tell yourself you made a stupid mistake. Rather than say you never do anything right, say you dropped the ball this time. See the difference?

Overcoming negative self-talk

When I am tempted to sink into the pit of thinking I am not enough, a loser, or a failure, I have to replace lies and accusations with truth. I have to focus on the truth of who God is and who he says I am.

God made me to love and be with him.

I am loved and accepted.

God does not make junk.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

God forgives my failures and missteps.

I am forgiven.

God will never leave me.

I don’t have to worry about being abandoned by God. He gives me a fresh start when I ask for one. I can reset and start over.

Affirmation Partner

We’ve all heard about accountability partners, and it’s definitely wise to have people in place to keep us on track, but have you got an affirmation partner?

When I am feeling like a big pile of dirty brown stuff, I call my affirmation partner and say, “I’m in the dumps. Tell me something good about me.” She fills my head and heart with true words I can’t think about myself in that state of mind. I write them on sticky notes and post them where I’ll see them until I can believe those true words for myself again.

Who could be an affirmation partner for you? Why not call her right now and float the idea by her. I bet she’ll welcome the idea.

What’s your best advice to overcome negative self-talk?

Verse for today: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. —2 Chronicles 7:14

Prayer: Father God, you made me to be a vessel of love toward you, toward others, and toward myself. When lies infiltrate my heart, remind me of who you are and who I am to you. Replace the lies with truth through Holy Spirit whispers or an affirmation friend. In Jesus’ name, amen.


  1. Ryioko Peterson on August 14, 2022 at 9:05 am

    Thank you for your encouragement. I continue to pray for you and your ministry. God’s awesome grace.

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 15, 2022 at 8:54 am

      Thank you Ryioko. I hope our ministry paths cross again!

  2. Marilyn Bay on August 17, 2022 at 9:20 am

    Thank you, Robyn, for this word. So good!

    It was my privilege to meet you in person and to attend your workshop at the AWSA conference. You are an amazing speaker and teacher!


    • Robyn Dykstra on August 17, 2022 at 9:21 am

      Wow, thanks Marilyn. It was really wonderful to meet you in person. Hope our paths continue to cross.

  3. Lynne Bradley-Horan on August 17, 2022 at 12:40 pm

    Right when I needed to be reminded!! Thank you, Robyn!

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 17, 2022 at 12:57 pm

      My pleasure, Lynne!
      Thanks for letting me know I hit the mark

  4. Anita McIlveen on August 18, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    I recently was reminded that self talk should be positive, not negative. I had gotten in the habit of responding to the question, How are you? With response, Not bad for an old woman or Just the aches and pains of an old age. (I am 73)
    The Lord impressed on me to stop that negative talk and respond in a positive manner!

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 18, 2022 at 5:46 pm

      Hi Anita,
      Thanks for sharing. I’m sure you’re not the only one who did that.

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