“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
“90% of those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit.” – John Maxwell
“Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.” – Zig Ziglar
I think it’s safe to say that failure is the common ground all mankind shares. None of us are immune to making mistakes – some having more painful consequences then others. Whether it’s small in nature or larger in scale, failure never comes easy. Our culture looks down on anything short of being perfect. And to make matters worse, if you’re a perfectionist like me, you become your largest critic and faultfinder!
When I think about my personal failures; the ones that cut the deepest involve my closest relationships – where I failed to be a good husband, father, son or brother. Failure that involves the heart can become a painfully intense wound – one that can take years to heal.
Where have you recently experienced failure in your own life? Was it moral or spiritual in nature? Was it related to business, academics, or an unmet personal goal you set for yourself? Was it surrounding an important relationship or friendship?
The most pivotal time in our life comes at the precise moment we encounter failure. It really isn’t about the mistake or error, it’s the decisions we make following failure that define us.
As you contemplate your recent mistakes and failures, think about them within the context of the following:
The Preparatory and Experiential Nature of Failure
When I look at my own life, I can clearly see the experience and knowledge I’ve gained through failure. I see how God used my shortcomings or mistakes to prepare me for a better outcome in the future. Instead of looking at failure in the context of defeat, setback and loss, view it as an opportunity to learn, to gain valuable experience, and to prepare you for better results down the road.
Failure can be one of the greatest teachers we will ever encounter, but only if we humbly submit ourselves to the wisdom found within it. Sometimes it becomes too easy to blame our failures on poor circumstances, unfair conditions or other individuals who were either directly or indirectly involved, but when we do this, we lose out on the teaching, preparatory, and experiential side of failure.
“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” (Proverbs 14:8)
What valuable experience have you gained through failure? How is it preparing you for a brighter future? What lessons have you learned by it?
Failure is NEVER Final!
Where would we all be if Thomas Edison gave up after his first failed light bulb experiment? Think about the numerous deaths that would have occurred if Louis Pastuer had abandoned his initial failed experiments surrounding the germ theory of disease. What will happen to you if you let the current failure in your life have the final say?
Remember, failure is NEVER final unless we allow it to have that kind of status in our lives.
What would have happened in Joseph’s life had he given up after being thrown in a pit? What if David would have given in each time his armies lost a key battle? What if Paul would have stopped writing – considering himself a failure after being imprisoned by Rome?
Are you currently stuck in your failures? If you are, don’t make a decision to settle there. Don’t give it the final say. Realize that failure is only a stopping point along the way to success!
“Perseverance must finish it work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)
The God of Second Chances
God demonstrates His unconditional love for us through His willingness to open up new doors of opportunity in the midst of failure. He is truly the God of second chances!
I love to meditate on these verses when I find myself immersed in failure:
“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:15-16)
“For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14)
“For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My guilty deeds have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; They are more numerous than the hairs of my head, And my heart has failed me. Be pleased, LORD, to rescue me; Hurry, LORD, to help me.” (Psalm 40:12-13)
As I read and meditate on these verses, I’m reminded that God knows me intimately. He understands my weaknesses and failures – having knowledge of them long before they ever occur. In my most recent failures, I have seen God working in my life – providing me with second chances time and time again.
As mistakes and failures close doors in your life, realize that God is in the business of opening new ones for you 🙂 Your failures, no matter how large or horrendous as they may seem, will not stop God from mercifully and graciously giving you an infinite number of second chances!
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wastelands.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Together, let’s stop embellishing our failures. Instead, let’s begin to accept them, humbly learn from them and allow them to prepare us for better days ahead. Let’s not allow the mistakes in our lives to have the final say – giving in to the setback or loss that’s associated with them. Instead, let’s continue to persevere – praising God for the new beginnings He provides for us in the midst of failure.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26 NASB
God bless each of you today and always!