But becoming a United Methodist meant that I would start get ashes put on my head once a year and the words would be spoken, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." A sobering reminder for sure.
But there is also comfort in being reminded that we are only human. We aren't God. He made us out of dust -- and we are going to go back to dust. So remembering that He made us and thus we are not in smarter or stronger than He is a good practice.
A couple days ago I wrote about Joshua who was an amazing, faith-filled courageous leader and in Joshua 6 he leads his army in an unusual victory that involved marching and blowing trumpets and such. Interestingly, just three chapters later we hear about a major screw up. The Gibeonites tricked them and Joshua signs a treaty with people that God had told him not to. You can read about it in Joshua 9 if you're interested. The key phrase says that before he made this major decision he
did not inquire of the Lord."
So, Joshua made a HUGE decision that impacted a large number of people without even asking God just three chapters later. Human. Dust.
So we aren't either courageous faith-filled leaders or cowering, "forget-to-ask-God" big mistake makers. We are both. Just like Joshua.
It's ok to be human. We're all going to make mistakes. And when we do, there's grace.
So today if you are discouraged because you feel you've screwed up, give yourself the grace that God gives you.
And if you're feeling all arrogant, like "you've got the power" then remember that you're dust.
Because even heroes make mistakes.