“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. Many times we experience negative consequences. We worry that we’re messing up our kids, ruining our career, creating a bad reputation, etc. And we quit trying.
But what if failing is actually good for us?
A couple years back, I hit a season where things weren’t so good. Because I had over-committed, my schedule was so full I barely had time for my family, or rest. I needed to get a manuscript to my editor, write two short stories for my publisher, and keep up on my personal 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 someone with a new baby. 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 He wanted me to work on.
Everything seemed to pile on me at once!
I felt like a total loser.
Eventually, I 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) He never runs out of grace or mercy!
What really matters is how we respond.
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 pride (Romans 12:3). Mistakes remind us that we’re human. 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 forgiveness. He hands out more second chances than we can count, and He’s always available to help when we need it. Without Him, we’re wimps.
How do you respond to your mistakes? Do you condemn yourself? Or do you take God’s handout of grace and mercy, lift your chin high, and try again?