“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.” Thomas Edison
Nobody likes to fail.
When we make a mistake, no matter how big, we risk losing respect from others and often have negative consequences to deal with afterward. We worry that we’re messing up our kids, ruining our career, etc. We’re so disappointed in ourselves that sometimes we don’t know how to recover.
But life must go on. So we suck it up and put one foot in front of the other, apologizing where we must and cleaning up the mess we made, all while trying to be rid of the guilt monster clamped around our neck.
Have you ever considered that failing might actually be a goodthing?
Last year I reached a place of what I would call failure. I had overcommitted and my schedule was so full I barely had time for my family. I needed to get a manuscript to my editor, write two short stories for my publisher, keep up on my blog as well as the three others I contributed to, all while working my day job and staying active at church twice a week!
Then, I had to deal with some miscommunication between me and my publisher, as well as make time to assist my sister who recently gave birth to her fourth child. I had also been working on maintaining a healthier lifestyle and felt guilty that I wasn’t keeping up with the new exercise plan. Then God pointed out some mistakes I had been making in my marriage that I needed to fix.
Everything seemed to pile on me at once! I felt like a total loser.
I eventually got out from under the slump – with a new perspective. I realized that being disappointed in myself when I messed up didn’t solve anything.
It’s okay to make mistakes – God expects it because we’re human and incapable of perfection. After all, He did say all things work together for our good. (Rom 8:28)
It’s how we respond to our mistakes that matters. Failing, while often ugly and uncomfortable, gives us an opportunity to become a better person.
What we can learn from making mistakes:
1) Failing teaches us humility and grace. Due to our old nature, we have a tendency to think more highly about ourselves than we ought, and the Bible warns against that (Romans 12:3). Mistakes remind us that we are human, that we’re no better than anyone else. Therefore, when we see others fail, we become less judgmental and more supportive, coming alongside them to help them recover.
2) Failing gives us an opportunity to learn and grow. How can we keep from ending up in this awful place again? Is there a heart problem we need to get right with God, or perhaps an issue in our past that we never got over? A mistake is a chance for us to dig deep and face some things we’ve been avoiding. God’s not done with us yet – He’s faithful to complete what He started (Philippians 1:6). We are a work in progress, and won’t be perfect until we reach heaven. The question is, are we going to choose to learn from our mistakes?
3) Failing reminds us how much we need a Savior. God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness! (2 Corinthians 12:9) God showed me that the only way I would survive my busy schedule I created was to rely on Him, seeking Him daily. He is our rock, our fortress, our deliverer (Psalm 18:2), a God of courage and forgiveness. He gives out more second chances than we can count, and He’s always available to help when we need it. Without Him, we’re wimps.
So, when you mess up, remind yourself of all the good that will come out of it later. Get past the emotions, and carry on, my friend. Carry on.