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.