The Importance of Doing Things Badly

By July 17, 2013Get Inspired


The first time I took my daughter to play tennis, she held the racquet like a frying pan (wrong) so we discussed the merits of a Western vs. Continental grip.

Her first shot was a soft, wobbly one and I easily crushed it back across the net with an inside out topspin forehand that may have broken the sound barrier and frightened her, but it clearly demonstrated what a hit should look like.

I told her the importance of hitting hard, deep shots and not floaty things that land midcourt begging for a pounding.

Next, we worked on her footwork and down the line backhands.

Also? I’m totally lying.

How wrong would I be if I’d done that?

She was six. She’d never played tennis before. She didn’t need to know the details. She didn’t need to be corrected.

She just needed to try.

Would she do everything perfectly? Of course not!

What she needed more than my instruction was the freedom to do things badly.

She’d learn more from mistakes and a persevering heart than from constant correction and unrealistic expectations.

My sweet friends, I think God knows that.

Will you take a deep breath with me? No, really. Go ahead. Inhale. Exhale.

God doesn’t hover over us with a hammer. He knows we need the freedom to do things badly. He stands cheering and waiting for the right moment to share His perfectly portioned wisdom.

It’s okay to have boring quiet times. Go you for having your quiet time!

It’s okay to have days where you hide in the bathroom. Go you for not taking all your frustration out on your kids!

It’s okay that the bottom of your kitchen sink isn’t shiny (at least you can see the bottom!), that your floors haven’t been mopped in a month (sweeping is great!), that you’ve never done a Pinterest craft (they’re pinned and organized!), that…

Go out there. Try every single day. Recognize every victory, because no matter how small, it’s still a victory. Don’t be afraid of mistakes, choose to learn from them.

Embrace Him and the freedom He gives us to fail. Don’t let the ball and chain of perfection keep you from becoming all He made you to be.

Does the fear of doing things badly ever keep you from trying? What victory, however small, can you claim today? Click here to join the discussion!

Leave a Comment



  • Avatar Jennifer O says:

    Thank you for the wise words this morning. I need to apply them to myself as well as in mothering my girls.

  • Avatar ellen says:

    Kat, I can’t tell you what a blessing your blog is to me. Seriously. I’m often quoting you and recommending this space (and your podcasts, too)!

    And, today. Today I started by battling my fear of my own imperfection. I keep doing good things hoping that somehow God will make me perfect and then I won’t fail anymore. But we both know that’s not the point of Grace. And so this morning I knew it was time to really lean in and surrender my heart to learning to fail and fail well. Your words today do much for my heart.

    • Avatar Kat says:

      I’m so glad to hear that it’s been a blessing to you! Thank YOU for your encouragement.

  • Avatar Beth says:

    Kat, you have done it again. You have taught me something about my life, at just the right moment. Thank you.

  • Avatar Suzie says:

    And yet again, you nail it. Thanks. I’m off to link this post in to all my Bible study group to hopefully encourage them the way you constantly encourage me. You. Are. So. FABULOUS!!!! Thanks so much.

    • Avatar Kat says:

      God always seems to know just what we need when we need it, doesn’t He? I’m honored He used these words to encourage you!

  • Avatar Kim says:

    Thanks! I needed this so badly today. I feel like I am a horrible mom, wife, etc. My son is in the mode of ” needing mommy” 24/7- he is 2. it is so frustrating, I am not getting ANYTHING done and I am exhausted from the constant pull on me. Husband is really no help right now with everything going on with his work for the next 3 weeks. So the comment about shutting yourself in the bathroom is a GREAT idea for me. I have to remember that I am doing the BEST that I can with what I have at this moment.

  • Avatar Mareesa says:

    Thanks for being my cheerleader this morning! A great reminder of God’s grace towards us, and how we can have grace towards our kids.

  • Avatar elle says:

    Thank you for this. My son is 13 and I’m realizing we need to let him mess up more. God has been trying to tell me for a while now and has been using writers like you to get through to me! Thanks again. Xoxo

  • Avatar Joyce says:

    Obviously, I’m catching up on blog commenting today. :p Another wonderful post. Inhale. Exhale. <– Just what I needed. 🙂