It seems to me that life is more about practice than perfect. When I keep this in my thinking, I don’t get so easily discouraged. Indeed, it seems to me that the journey to success are various sizes of incremental improvements. Some increments are big & some improvements seem infinitesimal. Furthermore, I often learn more from my failures than success, particularly when I think of failing as a verb & not just a noun.
I hate the word “fail” – it almost makes me have a visceral gagging reaction, borderline puking. Thankfully, if I take a minute to pause, evaluate and collect myself, I don’t puke. But if I’m not careful, I can easily throw things into the “failure” column and in a nanosecond find myself back to mental wrestling mat, almost down for the count. As God & I were talking about this whole failure thing this morning, I was reminded about how Jesus looked hanging on the cross, beat to a bloody pulp and possibly personifying the ultimate failure. He was betrayed by his friends, completely helpless, physcially obliterated and even yelling at God, “Why have You forsaken Me?!??”
Hanging on the cross, Jesus looked more like a failure than anything I’ve ever experienced & yet from God’s perspective, perhaps Jesus had never been more successful in His earthly existence, up to that point. Let’s be careful that we don’t frame failure in the context of defeat, permanent or hopeless. Jesus rose from the dead and living in our hearts, we have resurrection potential every day.
Be sure to pass this along to anyone you know who is struggling with seeming defeat or failure 🙂
How’s that for a stupid question!?!! I don’t start anything with the intent to fail & I most certainly do not like to fail, full stop. But some of my thinking about success has been changing & I’m becoming more aware that many of my ideas about success have been more influenced by my American culture rather than the Bible. My culture says that success is all about being bigger, better, more, power, stronger, wealthy, popular, image driven, new, hip, trendy & all things glitz & glam. In the American culture, success isn’t about being broken, serving, homely, unpopular or tarnished, some of the things that Jesus personified & taught. The more I think about success from a cultural versus a biblical perspective, I have to conclude that my culture and the Bible don’t always agree. The important part of the disagreement is the side on which I chose to live. If I have to chose between being successful based on the Bible or on my culture, I’m going to side with the biblical definition of success 🙂
I was thinking about how Jesus often didn’t meet people’s expectations. Mostly, He was a frustration & aggravation to the religious leaders, an enigma to the political leaders & a catastrophic failure to His disciples as He hung on the cross. In some situations, Jesus far exceeded the expectations: He forgives & heals, He repairs & redeems, He confronts & consoles along with so much more!
I find this to be very comforting because there are times when all of us don’t meet the expectations of others. With Jesus’ help, we can disappoint in the right ways 🙂
If you’re like me, from time to time, we make bad decisions. I don’t like it when I make a bad decision & I like the consequences even less. But what is worse than making a bad decision is not learning from such mistakes. So here’s a few things that might be helpful when dealing with bad decisions:
*mistakes & failures are an essential ingredient of success
*beating yourself up over mistakes adds zero value – own the mistake & mistake & move on
*blaming someone else tends to minimize our personal learning experience with the mistake or bad decision
*dont let the fear of a bad decision or mistakes paralyze you from trying
*consider all the people in the Bible who made mistakes & you’ll start feeling better quickly ,)
I recently made a lemon cake for one of my kid’s birthdays & it didn’t turn out well. Of course, some of the failure was my fault because I didn’t totally follow the directions (the cake didn’t come out of the pan very well). Thankfully, the flavor was ok, but I was still not very happy with the overall outcome – a cake mistake.
When I was thinking about mistakes, I was reading this morning about how God has fearfully & wonderfully made us. When I thought about this, it began to sink into my thinking about how God doesn’t bake or make mistakes. When God does work, His work work is done perfectly, without failures or flaws. Now I’m not saying that we don’t make mistakes but I am saying that we must understand that God has made us & we are not mistakes or failures. Thankfully, God redeems our mistakes but God did not make a mistake when God made you 🙂
I know that it’s July & most of us are enjoying the lovely Summer heat, but I’ve been thinking about snowboarding, my favorite winter sport 🙂
All of my family skis & I’m the only one who snowboards. When they measure the success of a day skiing, they’ll often talk about the few number of times that they fell, or that they didn’t fall at all. In contrast, when I was first learning to snowboard, I stopped counting how many times that I fell because I can’t count that high ,) But all of those times falling were nothing more than stepping stones to help me to learn a sport that I now thoroughly enjoy. I still fall from time to time when I snowboard & now when I fall, I make sure that it’s a REALLY GOOD FALL 😀
So my point is that failing doesn’t make us a failure unless we quit. There are alot of things in which we can fail in life & these things are often the exact places where God would like to move the most in our lives with beauty, grace, poise and redemption.
I hate it when I mess up & the bigger that I mess up, the more sick I get to my stomach. I hate it when I blow it & I’ve had my share of shortcomings & mistakes. I’ve been disrespectful to my husband (and repented), I’ve been insensitive w my words & hurt my friends, I’ve made selfish decisions & been called on the carpet for being selfish, and there are many more areas where I’ve messed up.
But here’s my encouragement for us: when Lot had messed up & was living in Sodom & having a conversations w God’s angels, they took him by the hand & let him away from destruction. There have been innumerable times when God has taken me by my hand & let me out of destruction. When this happens, I’m always humbled, grateful & my relationship w God always gets deeper & stronger. Be encouraged that when you mess up, God can take you by your hand & lead you out of destruction 🙂
We all have things & times that are discouraging – a job that falls through, a relationship that goes sour, a poor grade at school, etc. I don’t think that anyone is immune from having some discouraging moments in life. But the key is what we do with those times & situations. Here are some things that have been helpful to me with the discouragement topic:
just because I failed at something, that doesn’t make me a failure
keeping my eyes on God & His promises are more helpful than fixating on the discouragement (we can’t ignore problems, but we can’t let them own us either)
keep going – if I’m not careful, discouragement can get pretty heavy & bog me down, so I tell myself to take one step at a time, even if they’re baby steps
working out – physical exercise is a great way to burn off some discouragement
laugh – sometimes it helps me to be goofy, it lightens me up which is helpful because I tend to be pretty serious in my normal living
listen deeply – I find that God’s voice can really help speak light & truth to the discouragement that can try to reside in my thoughts
May you be strongly encouraged today that you are deeply loved & highly treasured!
To me, fun and failure don’t really belong in the same sentence. One of the only times that I’ve experienced failure and its been fun is when I bowl. For whatever reason, whenever I bowl, I laugh my head off. Since I don’t really have much opportunity to bowl, I’m a miserable failure with bowling & it makes me TOTALLY laugh at myself in a really healthy way. Except for bowling, fun and failure aren’t very complementary – but here’s the catch: they can be.
I’ve had varying degrees of failure in my life. I’ve failed in various sports, failed in some different school work, failed in some relational contexts, failed with some financial decisions and more. Here’s the good part of failure – its the bottom. Furthermore, we often seem to learn more from our failures than our successes. Success feels better than failure, but failure because of both the feelings and consequences causes us to adapt, change, grow, adjust and improve.
Here’s the tricky part of failure: just because you’ve experienced failure doesn’t mean that you are a failure. The verb isn’t the same as the noun. Sometimes, if we’ve had some catastrophic failure or a whole bunch of failures, it can be easy to transfer the action to our identity. This is contrary to what Paul says in Romans 8:37 – that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.
Hold your head up high when you fail. Its an opportunity to grow and get better. Through Jesus’ love for us, we are never failures, even when we blow it.