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 in 5th grade when I first tried to play basketball & I was 100% horrible. Neither of my parents are particularly athletic nor did they have alot of athletic background or experience. Furthermore, we didn’t have lots of sports stuff when I was growing up so my recess basketball games at school were the extent of getting some initial experience. For whatever reason, I wanted to be good at basketball so I decided to keep trying even though I was awful. I didn’t have much success at the beginning of my efforts, but I kept trying. I had horrible shooting form because I wasn’t strong enough to get the ball to the hoop. I couldn’t dribble to save my life & I was more uncoordinated than any 5th grade girl in my class, but I kept trying. When I entered 6th grade, I joined a school that had a girls basketball team & I shockingly made the Varisty squad, but was soon demoted to JV, but I kept trying. Throughout my middle school years, I continued to play basketball & because I kept trying, I began to improve. When I was in 8th grade, we had a freethrow competition to see who could make the most free throws out of 50 attempts. I tried really hard & came in 2nd on my team. I went on to play basketball in high school and kept trying to get better. I continued to improve and was privileged to be on a team that went on to win the state championship 🙂
Moral of the story: long-term success requires that we keep trying
Failure is merely the evidence that more practice is needed. I have a fun list of things that I’m pretty good at: languages, cooking, basketball, travel, etc. But the only reason I’m good at these things is because I’ve had alot of practice with them that has included boatloads of failures. I don’t think I could even begin to list all of the burned or raw chickens I’ve made, the traveling bloopers I’ve done – especially with Saving Moses, baskets I’ve missed and comical mistakes I’ve made trying to learn various languages. Failure is nothing more than an investment for success as long as we don’t quit 🙂
Whenever I go snowboarding, I’ve learned to check the weather forecast so I can be appropriately dressed. If it’s snowing, it helps to wear water repellant gear. If it’s cloudy, I try to remember to bring my flat light goggles. While you may find this to be boring, the principle remains that we need to prepare in advance for things that we know could be challenging or difficult. Sometimes if we know that we’re going to be in some tricky family situations (with Christmas around the corner), it helps to do some mental coaching ahead of time about the things we should or should not discuss. It helps to coach ourselves about our attitudes and some of our thinking so that when we get in some potential hotspots, we have done some preparation work ahead of time to help us with our words, actions and attitudes. Gear up my friends, in constructive ways, there could be some hotspots on the horizon in the next few weeks 🙂
Happy post Thanksgiving! I hope your day went well, with lots of peace, joy and enjoyable food 🙂 A few days ago, I posted about how I don’t really care for cooking turkey because of the litany of failed attempts my family has endured over many years. Well, I’m happy to report that yesterday’s turkey was totally tasty! It wasn’t burned, not too dry, not undercooked nor any of the other ways that I’ve ruined turkeys over many years – yahoo!!!
So here’s some encouragement. Think of something that you’ve been trying to get good at for a long time, then consider a few things:
perhaps the lessons you’ve learned from the failures just helped you to understand better what doesn’t work
be thankful that you don’t have to make the same list of mistakes – you can make new ones
perhaps you next attempt will be the one that brings you success
if you next attempt doesn’t succeed consider that you’re one step further from failure & closer to 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 🙂
What an amazing spectrum of experiences today. I’ve finished this day at our present nightcare facility, playing with one of our toddlers before he went to bed & enjoying our warm, safe & healthy haven for the babies of prostitutes while their moms work. Shortly before this wonderfully satisfying joy (we’ve been running for more than a year & have really acquired the trust of these moms to look after their babies), we negotiated the rent on a new nightcare facility in a new neighborhood & this is also super exciting!! We hope to be up & running there in about 2-3months 🙂
But here’s my struggle as I finish this day – we visited two brand new areas that desperately need nightcare & one of the areas we visited was really overwhelming for me. Even though we were there in the daytime, it was indescribably dark & felt very actively evil – the last face I saw before I left this area was a baby & if the truth be known, I’m having a rough time with all of this &I can’t seem to find words to go along with my feelings.
So friends, thank you SO MUCH for taking some time to read this & for being interested. I’m celebrating our successes & achievements while absorbing the opportunities that lie in front of us as well. Perhaps there is no one that is more “least of these” than the babies of prostitutes.
My husband & I are somewhat different. While we agree upon our goals & values, we don’t always see things in the same way, nor do we always take the same path to our goals. Early in our marriage, when he was still an engineer, we were talking about my efforts to hang wallpaper (which were “sketchy”). He was unhappy about how my wallpaper project had turned out because the pattern was slanted rather than perpendicular as it should have been. He began to ask my about the process I went through to hang the wallpaper & what I had done to properly prepare for a successful project. He gave me this quote, “Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.” I didn’t really care for the the cliche approach & it took me awhile to think through what he was trying to say – even though I didn’t like to admit it, I knew that he was right. This lesson is still being worked through my life even after almost 20 years of marriage.
What is even more breathtaking to me is when I consider that God is the Master Designer & Planner. God is working in our lives to prepare & refine us, growing & challenging us not only for today’s necessities but also for tomorrow’s successes 🙂
When my kids were younger, I had a fairly consistent of habit of making at least 2 attempts to get to the car before I was successful. I was always forgetting something – keys, wallet, bag, coat, shopping list, etc. My husband always knew that my 1st effort to leave would always have some follow up attempts as well & we now joke about this 🙂 He teases me & I always say that my first effort(s) are practice until I can get it right.
Practice is super important – it’s where we make mistakes, improve our skills, learn better ways, grow through endurance, etc. Indeed, practice is an essential ingredient for success! So if you find yourself having to practice alot, don’t get discouraged – you are merely getting continually better!! Consider that today’s results of the consequences of yesterday’s practice & today is the essential practice that we will need for tomorrow’s success 🙂
I’ve been thinking about Gideon lately & how 300 guys followed him to victory over more than 100,000 enemy soldiers. This very small group had MASSIVE amounts of success but a pre-cursor to their success individually & as a group was the elimination of fear.
Fear can be really loud, it can demand your attention, cripple your progress & thoroughly destroy your future. The guys who followed Gideon into this massive success made choices to not allow fear to control their decisions or behaviors. Indeed, Gideon had to overcome his own fear before he could lead anyone else out of fear & into victory.
Here are some things to help overcome fear:
*look at fear & face it – fear is usually much smaller when you turn & confront it, rather than avoid of deflect it
*make a step forward – fear wants to keep you paralyzed
*listen for Gods voice more than entertaining the voice of fear
*be mindful of conversations or inputs that cater to fear in your life
* never allow fear to be your friend