I opened the mail.

In an instant, I was furious.

I’ve been having some medical tests run lately to try and diagnose the chronic pain in my neck. One of the tests was faulty and had to be repeated. It involved needles and electrical current. And tears. So, when I received an $800 bill from a doctor I’d never seen-the one who read and declared the test faulty, I was mad.

It was an insurance nightmare and on my fourth frustrated phone call, I lost it.

I ranted and complained and whined to the billing lady on the other end.

It was ugly.

I was ugly.

I got off the phone and it took about 7.2 seconds for me to get the feeling. You know the one. Conviction.

Oh, but it gets worse.

I called my hubby and told him all about it. He quietly asked, “What is the doctor’s name? And the lady you griped at..her name?”

He didn’t say anything for a long time after I read the names off the piece of mail.

“Kristen, I’m a pharmaceutical rep. That’s one of my offices.”

-And now the kick in the gut-

“The girl you just told off is the same one I’ve been witnessing to and I’ve even been telling her all about Mercy House.”

She knew my name. She knew his name.

I’m sure I don’t even need to tell you how terrible I felt. I apologized to my husband. I hit redial and called the lady in the billing department back. I apologized.

Thankfully, she was gracious.

It took a while longer for me to forgive myself. I know I’m human, but I know my temper won that day and I regretted my behavior.

Life is a lesson, isn’t it? And my Father God knows how to correct me.

I learned a lot that day: When you disappoint (and you will unless you’ve got some superhuman gift):

  • Be quick to admit your failure.
  • Ask for forgiveness.
  • Deal with the consequences.
  • Repeat often.
Do you have a hard time forgiving yourself mistakes? Or when you disappoint others?

by Kristen Welch, We are THAT family

*photo credit

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  1. 1

    We are all guilty of letting others down from time to time. Not our best moments for sure. I think you summed it up with your advice to :

    Be quick to admit your failure.
    Ask for forgiveness.
    Deal with the consequences.
    Repeat often.

    Love this and I think this is key. I am so thankful that we have a gracious God who forgives us when we act/speak to quickly and when we fail to set the best example to others. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • 2

      normally, I am with the Lord’s help to handle these issues in a kinder manner and still accomplish a win-win situation. So, when, for one reason or another, there is a lose-lose situation and i have let the evil one triumph,i can spend days and sleepless nights going over and over with what the scenario should have looked and sounded like. and actually that is whre my biggest flaw is in the situation- i am not going to solve anything by not confessing and asking Him to forgive and assist me in correcting it. still hanging onto the idea that i was in charge, i guess.

  2. 3

    Wow. You are a courageous lover of God. A humble heart looks hard in the mirror of His heart and rushes to amend, while grabbing grace along the way. It’s so hard to accept that I am still an imperfect, still-being-worked-on soul. Don’t I have this down after 34 years wearing the cloak of grace?! Thank you for the gift of example and humility you give today.

  3. 4

    Thank you for this Kristen.

    Please hop on over at my little place, just wrote about “the power of words” in my recent post.

    http://charinabrooks.wordpress.com

  4. 5

    Thank you for this Kristen.

    Please hop on over at my little place, just wrote about “the power of words.”

    Blessings!

  5. 6
    Victoria says:

    Oh so true and even harder when you lose it with your spouse. Thank you for your words of grace.

  6. 7

    YES, YES, YES!!! I do have trouble forgiving myself.

    Have to admit your post made me smile – could just imagine myself doing something like that!!! Hope you don’t mind me having a smile, at what must have been so awful for you – real “sick in the stomach” type stuff!!!

  7. 8

    Oh boy if that doesn’t speak to me, I don’t know what will!!!!!! Thank you for being so transprarent – yes we muck it up all the time, yes we are human, yes we fail. Gratefully He loves us unconditionally and life is ever a pilgrims progress; it is all a part of the slow deaths we die everyday! Thanks

  8. 9

    Wow, did that article hit home for me. When I was pregnant with my 3rd daughter four years ago, I had horrendous nausea and needed a prescription to help me function through the day. Needless to say, it required oodles of paperwork and talking to insurance back and forth. Frustrating to say the least. Anyways, one afternoon after trying to refill the script, found out insurance wouldn’t cover cause paperwork wasn’t ok’d yet (had to do this monthly) so I would have had to pay $50 a pill! I took two a day! So I called insurance company and went totally hormonal and crazy to the point that I didn’t even recognize myself. Ended up hanging up, called the hubby and then sat down and prayed. I still to this day feel my stomach in knots and sick with guilt with how I behaved. Even though they gave me the run around on the phone, I should have held myself together better. Thanks for this article.

  9. 10

    Thanks! We all need this. Love the way you summed it up, and repeat often because of course it wont be the last time we let others down.

  10. 11

    Even when I’m frustrated and trying to deal with insurance I always try and remember to let the person I am speaking know that I know they aren’t the ones who make the insurance plan and that I am not upset at them personally. I also end with thanking them for their time and trying to help. I’ve had some that seem “hard” and others that really seem to try to help, but when we end on a positive note I hope that the light of Christ is shining through my frustration.

  11. 12

    Wow, I so got you and didn’t judge since I recently gave the finger and have been so terribly upset and sorry for it. I think when our pastor recently talked about reaching out he didn’t mean in that way. I could make up a lot of reasons or excuses for the stresses I was under in my life but none of them warrant passing it on! What is worse I am unable to say sorry which is very important to me because I tend to carry mistakes as huge burdens, and I don’t know the person….
    Like you I went into a huge learning curve: about myself, about my relationships, about how I protect myself from hurt instead of confronting things before I let the stress get to me. God is in my hands and my heart and I need to remember that and give Him any burdens before they overwhelm me.
    It’s about trust.
    I hope you’re bill was taken care of and, if not, God is with you and those you come into contact with so that it is a learning, growing and compassionate experience for all. I also hope the person I may have hurt didn’t have their anger excaserbated by my behavior as that wasn’t what would bring peace to them. I wish I could change it but I can only move on and change me.

  12. 13

    Let’s just say this is one area where I have gotten better but need more help. Let’s just say I am Puerto Rican; this is not an excuse but a fact that goes hand in hand with hot-tempered. There was a time when I would just go off when something annoyed me. But like I said. I have gotten so much better. And while I am a work in progress, I feel I have become also better at forgiving myself when I let someone down. I usually beat myself up for a little bit but I have learned that lesson.

  13. 14

    This happens sometimes, when we let our emotions get the better of us. We have a choice of how we will react. Sometimes I think I need a “time out” before reacting. At least you knew you were wrong and apologized. That is very gracious.

  14. 15

    Wow, what a heart and conscience buster. Than you for your honest and powerful testimony.

  15. 16

    Oh My! Yes, I’m sure you felt very bad. Sadly most of us can attest to similar experiences. Life happens and we get angry, frustrated, volitale, surprised, embarrassed, apologetic and humbled. As my S.O. often says . . . ‘God doesn’t like ugly’. It’s what you do about the things that happen that show the character of who you are. You took the right steps and you are the better person for it.
    I have seen myself begin to get upset with a situation and right away I tell the person it’s not about them and I am sorry they are the person getting the impact of my frustrations. Almost immediately they will say, I understand or I have felt that way too. And suddenly, just that second of human acknowledgement makes such a diiference that I can have a rational state of mind and talk without taking it out on them personally and get something accomplished.

  16. 17

    Oh girl. And don’t forget, receive the forgiveness that is extended to you.

  17. 18

    OH my…have I ever felt that very same conviction. I have had many insurance riffs with my breast cancer issue and I could feel the anxiety you felt in your blog. Been there…and we can only learn from these nightmare situations that we sometimes put ourselves in. Thank you for your transparentcy and honesty…Praise God he is so forgiving..its hard to accept His forgiveness sometimes but we can’t let the ememy get a foothold in situations like this by allowing us to beat ourselves up for too long! God bless.

  18. 19
    Lynnebee says:

    Beatin myself up over letting others down seems like it’s my hobby some days. I can sooooo relate. Just remember “Keep Calm and Love Mercy” {smile} Thanks for being so transparent ;-)

  19. 20

    I’m not sure but this might be an area of growth for me. Please pray with me that I will forgive myself fully and quickly and right any wrongs up to know that need addressing. Thank you ladies.

    Angie

  20. 21

    Thank you for sharing so openly, Kristen. Whenever I lose it or blow it, I replay the events continuously, sweating the entire time. Often I try to justify my reaction. Humbling yourself presents a beautiful picture of a fallen human saved by a gracious God–it represents a truer picture of what a Christian really is.

  21. 22
    Beth Williams says:

    Oh boy do I!!! My temper can easily get the best of me, especially with lack of sleep. I may not let people know it, usually just slam a door & walk off-away from the situation.

    The most recent situation was work. My job has completely changed at our clinic. We are “birthing” a new EHR (electronic health record) system while maintaining to see a large number (20+) of patients daily! It is stressful on everyone!! Have been mad, upset, & downright unChristian for about 5 months during part of this transition.

    Pray for me and my attitude–especially at work. I don’t like losing it and thinking wrong thoughts–basically letting the evil one win!!

    I will pray for everyone here and ask God to help each of us to forgive ourselves!

  22. 23

    been there too…such a terrible place to be. i hate going there. i really do. but sometimes in the middle of my frustration that’s exactly where i find myself. and i always regret it. always. because i think, “how did that person see the face of Jesus in me?”. and the answer of course, is they didn’t. how could they? b/c Jesus was no where to be found. it was all about me.

    me. me. me.

    and when it’s all about me, my wants, my needs, my desires, it’s never a good thing.

    but i’m trying really hard to get over myself. i’m trying really hard to talk myself out of bad behavior. and sometimes i do good. but sometimes i don’t.

    the good news is you’re not alone. because i’m in the boat with you. maybe together we can paddle to shore without drowning!!!

    here’s a post i wrote last week that kind of touches on my behavior.

    http://www.thegiftofmondays.com/2012/01/do-you-have-to-be-rude.html

    have a great weekend!!!

  23. 26

    What a humbling post… thanks for sharing. We had a huge ordeal at Target the other day (my fav store, btw). My husband had to remind me that it’s not a big deal and watch how I react. I’m grateful for the reminder so I could face the inconvenience with grace instead of anger and frustration.

  24. 27

    Great lesson for all of us. Thanks you. Hugs, Marty

  25. 28

    Oh Kristen, you post sure hit home. I chose the word, “kind” as my word for the year and put it out there on my blog and told others, posted kindess quotes on my fb wall…the whole bit. An upsetting conversation took place and I too lost it and said unkind words. If you get time check out my post, “WHAT WAS I THINKING”, on my blog…
    betty-wiseheartedwomen.blogspot.com.

    Thanks for your honest open post…you have a pure heart

  26. 29

    I try to catch myself, of course, but yeah, I have done it too.

    If your husband hadn’t known her, would you have still called back and apologized?

    (I honestly don’t know if I would)

  27. 30

    Been there…after 3 weeks of no answers, I was told my test was lost, but then it “magically appeared” within 24 hours – inconclusive. Thankfully, that time, I didn’t “lose it”. But, we’ve all been there. Your calling back and apologizing may have been a bigger witness than you know. He can truly make beautiful things out of our ugliness when we repent as you have!! Great lesson :)

  28. 31
    Michelle says:

    I appreciate your transparency. I think it takes a lot of courage to call back and apologize.

  29. 32

    I am terrible at forgiving myself. I always beat myself up horribly.

    Thank-you for being vulnerable and sharing this story. I’m always embarrassed and want to crawl under a rug and don’t want anyone to know. I think my pride enters in too, which isn’t a good thing.

    Thank goodness for a Savior and His grace.

  30. 33

    I need this. Thank you.

  31. 34

    Oh, I so hear you on this. I am altogether too familiar with that sinking-stomach feeling of conviction. Mercifully, I not only have a gentle and gracious Father who nudges me to act upon His prodding of my conscience, but I also have a great husband who gently reminds me (more often than I care to admit!) that my initial inclination may not be the best, most fruitful response. Thanks for sharing honestly about your moments of brokenness and reminding us to keep stepping forward.

  32. 35

    Boy, can I relate. When I find myself in a similar situation I rationalize that I have to take up for myself…or express my feelings. Then the guilt sets in. Over the years I’ve learned to express gently, and apologize that they are the person on the other end of the phone, however, I don’t know who else to address my issue with. I love that you are mindful of others and take responsibility to clean it up. Thanks for a great reminder.

  33. 36

    Not that I go looking for opportunities to fail or let others and Jesus down…I find them without looking : )…but I have found that when I do blow it and then humbly do everything to make the wrong right, it often makes my relationship with that person or even my witness stronger. It is the paradox of how God uses everything for good.

    I guess people don’t want Christians to be perfect, just perfect at responding to our imperfections. It gives them hope that they can be who Jesus asks them to be.

  34. 37

    I found myself smiling when I read this. I feel a little better knowing that I’m not the only one to have found myself in such a predicament. I remember one time I told off a very rude gas station employee on my way to church one evening and was so convicted that I had to return there after church and apologize to her. I ran into her a few weeks later after apologizing, at a Christian friend’s home and I was really pleased that I fixed that one up. We eventually became well acquainted but it just goes to show how we really need to let Christ shine through us in each and every situation.

  35. 38

    Thank you, Kristen, for describing this so well. I needed this.

    I have a quick temper and I hate when I pop off to a phone sales person and then turn around and see my teens’ faces. God let me see through this story how much I damage people through this. Not just my kids but the person on the other side of the phone who gets my wrath.

    God used this story to do some heart correction. Thank you.

  36. 39

    Thank you for this article. I’ve never been on your site before but when I read the link I had to read it. I am fighting my own personal nightmare. Have been for years. I was always the strong one. The go-to person in my family. In the last 6 or 7 yrs I began spiraling down. I have loved ones in my family who support my effort in my fight. Then there are others who are ever so quick to condemn.
    I struggle daily with my problem, and find it so hard to forgive myself. Yet, God is always there cheering me on. He sees my need and has given me the insight I need in my fight. No, He doesn’t always deliver us from our problems, but He ALWAYS stands beside us, walking with us, letting us know that we can make it through.
    Thank you, again, for this article.

  37. 40

    By the way, I love the quilt patterns by each person’ s name. I’m a quilter, myself, and always love to see others’ patterns.

  38. 41

    Conviction isn’t easy for anyone!!! I know, I’ve been convicted before. Many, many times!!! The fact that it is recognized and acted upon quickly is truly a blessing for us. We learn through it. Dealt with quickly so it isn’t buried in our hearts to fester or rot, leaving us with a stinky attitude! “I’m sorry” is never easy. Then again, neither is being a difficult person indefinitely!!!

  39. 42

    Well–OUCH! I, too, have a temper. I’ve been there 3.5 zillion times. And, yes, I struggle with forgiving myself. Sometimes when I reach that place of forgiveness for the wrong doer, I feel overwhelmingly silly for even needing to say that I forgive them. The audacity of it all. Of course it doesn’t stop me from pouring out to the Lord that I do forgive them. And when necessary, telling the other person. I just feel so silly at times that I allowed it to get to that. And the struggle with forgiving me. But how can I share the amazing grace of our Lord with others who’ve been caring loads of guilt if I, myself, don’t apply it? There’s no good in holding on to unforgiveness toward myself. Ultimately I have to come to place where I do exactly the things you listed above. And it’s so worth the peace that floods my soul.

  40. 43

    This is sobering and goes straight to the heart. Thank you for posting.
    James 1:26 “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue you are fooling yourself and your religion is worthless.”

  41. 44

    Oh gosh. I felt like I got kicked in the gut just reading that…that SOOOOO could have been me, Kristen. Ugh. I need to remember this post when I’m getting frustrated with drivers in the mall parking lot. You just *never* know. ;)

  42. 45

    This was a post that I very much needed during this season of my life. I’ve had to come to grips with the concept that I will disappoint people…that I am NOT perfect…that I am HUMAN…and that HE is GOD – the only Perfect One.

    Thank you so much for sharing this and for sharing ways in which I can practically move forward when I have those “disappointing” moments.

  43. 46

    Wonderful article! However, I have a question. How do you tell people they are wrong in a loving, christian way?

  44. 47
    Handsfull says:

    Oh, I SO relate to this! I’m particularly prone to losing the plot when I’m pregnant, and with each pregnancy (4) have at least one memorable (for all the wrong reasons) moment! Then there was the occasion last winter when we were without a dishwasher for almost 4 weeks, due to our old one catching fire and insurance taking their sweet time to replace it. For 3 weeks of that 3 of my children and myself were sick, and we were also having to wash dishes by hand. I rang the insurance company yet again, and when the lady on the other end was yet again unhelpful, I lost it… rang back the next morning and apologised, and somehow the situation had been sorted overnight and our new dishwasher arrived within 2 days! Even though I’m pretty sure it was my outburst that motivated the company to do what they should have done weeks ago, it would have been so much better if I could have been polite about needing to talk to the manager (lol!) and not had to ring back and apologise…
    Sigh.
    In some things I’m such a slow learner!

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