Failure Isn’t Final

Years ago I heard Landon Saunders say:

It’s not inhuman to fail.
It’s inhuman to deny that you fail.
That’s failing at failure.

His words are helpful because they remind me that I always have a choice as to how I will respond to my mistakes.  Will I allow them to bring a final, fatal end to my spiritual growth.  Or, will I trust that God can forgive and accomplish his purpose in my life in spite of my failure.

Failures aren’t failures
if you learn something from them.

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh –

Good people are good
because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.

– William Saroyan –

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again,
more intelligently.

– Henry Ford –

I’ve failed over and over again …
that is why I succeeded.

– Michael Jordan –

God has entrusted great tasks
to those who have handled great failure.

– Landon Saunders –

It is true that we are all created in the image of God.  But it is also true that we fall short of that image — we fail, we sin.  But failure is not final because …

FAILURE EDUCATES

It points out our “blind spots” and redirects our energies.  It answers questions, offers new options, and prevents further failure. Ask any sports figure, scientist, or teacher. The education that failure brings offers the opportunity to begin again.

FAILURE HUMBLES

Confessing failure cultivates humility in us and reminds us to be tolerant and forgiving of the failures of others.  Alexander Pope wrote, “Some people will never learn anything … because they understand everything too soon.”  Humility will always be helpful, especially in the lives of the arrogant. But sometimes it takes failure to bring humility in a life.

FAILURE MOTIVATES

Falling short of expectations does not have to be a reason to quit.  It could provide the challenge and motivation to go on.  After all, the original goal still stands.  It is still worth pursuing.  The only difference is that now your focus is sharper and the way is clearer.

FAILURE HAS AN ANSWER

Failure’s most important lesson is our great need for forgiveness.  God created us clean and he can make us clean again.  He has not given up on us and it is an insult to the image of God that we wear to give up on ourselves.

So, let us learn from our mistakes and, with a greater sense of humility and clarity, let us accept God’s forgiveness and move forward in the power of his grace.

God made Him who had no sin
to be sin for us,

so that in him we might become
the righteousness of God

– 2 Corinthians 5:21 –

cul-de-sac living

I really like the thoughtful writing of Ken Gire. Here is a piece from his, Windows of the Soul.  It gave me a good start to my day.

It is, I suppose, possible to speak of the soul without speaking of God, just as it is possible to tour a cathedral without stopping to worship. Most of us, though, have taken that tour. And for most of us, it’s not enough.

The pursuit of self is what most of us have been doing for much of our lives, even our spiritual lives. But the self is a cul-de-sac, and eventually we end up where we started. Footsore and just as frustrated, just as unfulfilled. Feeling we’re a failure, or worse, a fraud.

The pursuit of soul, if soul is all we’re pursuing, is not much different. It’s a longer walk down a nicer street, but the street is still a cul-de-sac, and in the end, regardless how invigorating the walk, it doesn’t lead beyond the neighborhood of who we are.

… We long for something more than a routine walk around the religious block. We long for the companionship of God. We long for the assurance that we are not taking this journey alone. That He is walking with us and talking with us and intimately involved in our lives.

This new year, as you begin again, don’t just take the tour.  Stop and worship.