Have you ever failed at something?
How did it feel? What did you think of yourself?
I imagine these questions awaken some negative thoughts and emotions for you. Perhaps you have gone to great lengths to tuck those memories away. I understand! I’m right there with you! Our failures are our dirty little secrets and we do whatever we can to keep them under wraps.
But…What if I told you failure can be beautiful?
What if failure could be one of the best things that can happen to you?
I know you may find that hard to believe. It goes against the grain of every thought and feeling that stirs inside of me.
My Fear of Failure
My mom thought I would never walk. Other toddlers were fumbling through their first steps…balancing, moving and falling after making some strides. Not me. Despite countless people holding my hand and walking me back and forth, up and down, over and around…I would have none of it. I was not going to be one of those crazy kiddos who bounced and bruised their way to earning their title of “walker!” No sir. I sat it out…literally. I waited. I waited a long time. And then, one day…I got up and walked from one end of the room to the other. Thank you, goodnight!
I laugh when I think about this now but it reminds me of a deep seeded fear. Failure. I don’t like to fail. I don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to do anything unless I know I can do it well, right off the bat. I don’t want to try and see how it goes. What if it doesn’t go? What if it goes and then you crash and burn? No thanks. I’ll wait. I’ll abandon ship before I ever let that happen. Failure is not an option.
Maybe you feel the same way.
Many of us would never identify failure as beautiful. We aren’t striving or searching for it. We don’t see it as positive. We don’t count it as a victory. Failure is embarrassing. Failure is shameful. Failure shakes our confidence…it takes the wind out of our sails and stops us in our tracks. Failure has been labeled by our society, our families, our friends…even our churches as a sign of weakness, or foolishness. Failure is bad. No wonder we avoid it like the plague!
It is time we start to reshape the narrative.
Here are 4 things that make failure beautiful
Failure Allows You to Learn and Grow. It didn’t go as expected? Ok. I am sure you’re disappointed. But instead of throwing in the towel and staying in the dumps, ask yourself some probing questions. Use words like how, what, and when to explore your experience. You may want to avoid using the prompt “why.” Questions that start with why often move us to a place of blame and we can get stuck there. If you ask yourself “why” make sure you frame your findings in a way that will encourage you and move you forward in a positive way. Spend some time sitting with your failure in a healthy way so you can leverage it for your benefit!
Failure Doesn’t Define You. Just because you failed at something doesn’t mean you are a failure. I’ll say it again. Just because you failed at something doesn’t mean you are a failure. Your identity does not come from what you have or haven’t done. If you need some reminders of who God says you are, take a moment to read 7 Promises to Rely on This Week.
Failure Provides Opportunity. Often times we allow failure to have the final word. We have an idea in our minds and when it doesn’t happen like we thought it should, we see it as a deal breaker and quit. This is a huge one for me! But then I think about the way God works. When I look at the scriptures or listen to countless stories of people who share the movement of God in their lives, do you know how many people say that things went just as they thought they would? Yup…Zero. God shows up in ways and times we least expect. And EVERY TIME the way God works it out is way better than what we envisioned. He often uses failure to do a beautiful work. So just think, failure may be exactly what you need to get you to where you are meant to be.
Failure Points You Back to God. Failure is where God shows up. You can’t but God can! You don’t understand, but He does. You have no idea what the outcome will be but He has it all planned out…and it’s beautiful.
Living and leading radically different starts with what you believe. What are some ways in which your thoughts on failure have derailed you from living fully as the person God created you to be? What’s one thing you will do to take the next step forward and try again? Share how I can be praying for you!
You’ve got this! No, wait…God’s got this!