I have been known to fail. OK, perhaps it could be better said that I have a PhD in failure. I’ve done it well and often! But I think God has something for us in failure.
I’ve failed at things personally, professionally and in other areas too. Fundraiser that didn’t make money – check. Said the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person – check. Hit “reply all” instead of “reply” – check. And on we could go… The thing is I really feel like that as bad as some of those times have felt and been while going through them, God has always brought me through and helped me to learn some significant things that make me who I am today.
I know that people who don’t try, don’t fail. In a culture that if often driven by a fear of failure, this principle is so important. I truly believe it is those who are willing to try, to engage, to dream, to struggle and yes, sometimes, to fail, are the ones who are able to best know the best kind of life! Those who are looking for no struggle, no pain, no failure, aren’t going to experience life the same way.
A good friend gave me this quote from Theodore Roosevelt that has been helpful to me here:
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there si no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”
Part of my process of learning this summer has been to better face those failures and evaluate not only what I’ve learned about those situations, but also about me.
Adam McLane has a great post about failure and learning from it that you should check out. I really like these two:
– Working harder rarely significantly impacts my results – I like this because I feel like we have forgotten in our culture the recreative value of recreation and play for the imagination and creative process. Instead of resting and playing, we just forgo that and work more. Not productive.
– A failure doesn’t make me a failure – We often mistakenly find our identity in what we do rather than who we are and so when things fail we assume we are failures too.
God help me to seek after the best kind of life found in you with all that I have. Give me the courage to try and to accept and learn from those times (how ever often they may be) that I fail.