I met someone today who wanted to spend a lot of time talking about her yesteryears. It was clear that her yesterday was taking up most of her today.
Her reminiscing was peppered with regrets and layered with her stifling perceptions of failure. She was stuck, yet she was young and had her whole life ahead of her. It was very sad to watch her sink into an abyss of “I can’ts”, “nothing’s gonna’ change” and “I feel like giving up.” It was an awkward situation because I wasn’t able to help her at the time but I suggested that we meet soon and talk.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind – THIS is transformational truth. I believe here is glorious hope and new beginnings, every day of our lives.
In his motivational speeches, Zig Ziglar used to challenge his audiences with this statement – “Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.” I know it sounds a bit cheesy but there is great truth in these words.
In God’s economy, failure is never final. I am comforted by the biblical stories of great men and women who failed miserably, whether it be their adultery, murderous scheming, loss of nerve, vindictiveness, impatience or deception – and rose again because they accepted the consequences AND the restorative grace of God. There is always something to learn from our failure – it is not something to trivialize and it’s not something that needs to mark us for the rest of our lives.
I think failure is feedback. Failure tells me that there’s another way… a better way.
When I was in high school, we had a teacher who used to entertain us with his acronym creations. Many of the students used to roll their eyes about it but to be honest, I looked forward to walking into his classroom and checking out the acronym on the chalkboard. I still remember many of those acronyms – this one was one of my favourite.
F – first
A – attempt
I – in
L – learning
It’s all about learning, isn’t it?
Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo. Jon Sinclair
The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145.13,14