Failure Is Not Fatal

I will let you in on a secret about me: The thought of failing terrifies me. There have been times in my life where it has paralyzed me. I’ve been afraid of embarrassment, disappointing people, disappointing myself.

Rarely have I been concerned about disappointing the Lord, which should tell you something about all this fear. I didn’t only embrace the counterfeit; I assimilated it. When faced with significant decisions in my past, I agonized over them. My stomach would act up because of the amount of stress I was putting myself through. Thoughts swirled in my mind: Is this the right decision? What if someone thinks I’m wrong? What if something better comes along?

Suffice it to say, when you’re so wrapped in yourself like I was, it’s almost impossible to hear the voice of the Lord. It’s hard to hear anything but the sound of your voice. I’ve found when someone is in this whirlwind; two things can happen. We continue to spiral out of control. Or we hit rock bottom and are forced to make a decision.

I have found myself in the latter more often than the former. But neither are fun. However, I’ve learned that it is the graciousness of God that leads me to the end of myself. I’ve come to understand this fact: failure is inevitable. I’m going to fall. I’m going to make bad choices. I will be wrong. It’s not the end of the world. Sure, it’s been painful. But there has always been redemption and forgiveness in the failing.

I feel like I’m in that season of life where I’m learning this lesson again and again. Especially when it comes to people in my life. I’ve made some difficult relationship miscues. I’ve either said too much or too little. However, the encouragement is that I’m still getting up. Every time it happens, I’m trying to recognize my mistakes, ask for forgiveness when needed and deciding to move on. Too many times in my past have I been crippled by falling and the refusal to move forward. Life still happens all around us. In the grand scheme of things, our failures are a blip on the radar screen. What matters is our response to the failing and if we get up and keep going.

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” I guess that’s what I’m saying to myself and to anyone who is reading this blog right now. I don’t know where you are or what’s happening. But I want to tell everyone that the issue will never be the failing. Failing is a natural part of life. We miss the beauty in rising. In not letting our past mistakes and decisions define us. And this doesn’t only apply to “minor” failings. It covers the gamut of things that we do. From the white lie to theft, malice to adultery and everything between and beyond. Yes, there will always be consequences to the things we do. But they should not forever define who we are.

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