Failure, the word alone invokes visions of gloom and disaster. To be called one is to be labeled worthless- a loser. Fear of failure is so great that many never even venture an attempt. Ships of dreams and visions never set sail from the safety of the harbor of our hearts for fear of possible storms. Yet, the underlying fear is not that the ship will sink but that we will be sunk. This thinking is the result of a faulty view.
Babies fall time and again learning to walk yet they aren’t afraid to try once more. We don’t consider them failures yet we give ourselves that label when we fall. One struggling with a rebellious teen says, “I’m a failure as a parent”. When a new venture struggles to be profitable, another says, “I’m a failure as a businessman.” While still another receives a rejection letter from a publisher and says “I’m a failure as a writer”. The words need not even be spoken out-loud but they have a profound effect on our psyche nevertheless.
It is time to understand that our failures do not define who we are. Failure is simply an event, never a person.(*Brown) God creates no failures; we are each a masterpiece. If we disparage our worth, we disrespect God's work.
When we give in to fear and fail to try or try again ,we grant it power over our lives. Yet, fear is never from God. How often in His word are we told “fear not”. Release the fear to Him and press on through the trial. Remember, as a child of God's you know how the book of life turns out. If it’s not good right now, it’s because it’s not over.(*Maxwell) Have faith and persevere.
Instead of allowing fear to cripple your progress, welcome failure as an “opportunity to begin again more intelligently” (Henry Ford). Each failure is a gift to examine for through it we learn:
1. Perseverance- It took Edison thousands of attempts before perfecting the light bulb yet he never stopped trying. Get back up and try again. It's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get back up.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. Romans 5:3
2. Limitations- Failure brings us face to face with our limitations. It is at the end of ourselves that we most clearly see God in His full glory. We are limited, God is limitless.
"God's all-sufficiency is a major. Your inability is a minor. Major in majors, not in minors." Corrie ten Boom
3. Knowledge- Through failure we learn what didn't work both in ourselves and in our approach enabling us to make improvements and explore alternatives. How much better to learn that sooner rather than later. When asked about his failure, Edison would simply respond that he hadn't failed; he'd simply learned ten thousand ways not to make light bulb.
Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly. Proverbs 13:16
4. God Reliance- When we fall down the best place to fall is back on God. When we depend upon ourselves failure is inevitable for we are imperfect. But when we depend on Him our future is always secure.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. Romans 8:28
5. Commitment- Failure gives us pause to consider how committed we are to our goal; to consider how much we believe in the path we are on. A difficult obstacle cannot be overcome until we hold nothing back.The greater our hunger to attain, the greater our motivation to succeed.
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
Success in any avenue in life is a process of trial and error. Failure will come. When it does welcome the gifts it brings you. Use them to grow more fully into the person God created you to be. The only real failure is not falling down but staying down. (*Pickford)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4