Tag Archive | failure

The Big #Fail.

It’s the joke you told and no one laughed.

It’s the job you got fired from.

It’s the “great idea” that singed your eyebrows, sent your best friend to the hospital, or turned your dog green for 6 months.

It’s the “Hey… watch THIS!” moment that nearly landed you a Darwin Award.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

One has only to Google the word fail to find a host of cringe-worthy, heart-wrenching, and oftentimes humorous results that come from that particular search. Fails come in all shapes and sizes… from the personal unfortunate moment captured by your little sister and posted to Instagram, to the architectural mis-design that garnered the attention of the world (the Tacoma Narrows Bridge), to the truly tragic that resulted in untimely death or serious injury. But while losing a job, or failing as an inventor for the 500th time can take the proverbial wind out of your sails, just because you fail doesn’t make you a failure.

When faced with multiple failures trying to create the incandescent light bulb, Thomas Edison made this observation…

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

American founding father, statesman, and inventor Benjamin Franklin said…

Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.

Billionaire and real-estate tycoon Donald Trump expressed it this way…

Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates stated…

It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.

All of these men experienced disappointment. These men all experienced some sort of failure. However, experiencing failure and being a failure are two entirely different things.

Failing does not make you a failure. After Peter famously told Jesus that, even if everyone else turned away from Him, he would not, but then proceeded to deny Jesus three times in His hour of need, most would have written Peter off as an abject failure and loser.

Jesus didn’t.

Upon His resurrection, Peter found redemption in Jesus’ words, “Peter, do you love Me?” No grovelling. No penance. No period of probation or trying to make it up to the Savior. Jesus understood Peter’s heart, understood His weakness, and showed Peter in no uncertain terms that even the most horrific failure is not always final. He gave Peter hope, and by giving Peter that hope at that time, Peter went on to become “The Rock” that Jesus depended on in the infancy of the early church.

So what is your fail? What is your moment from which you need to pick yourself up by your bootstraps, dust off, and re-affix your eyes on the Savior? It’s time to stop seeing yourself through the eyes of your embarrassment, and start seeing yourself through the eyes of the One Who looks at you, and sees nothing but potential.

Today, I leave you with a thought from President Theodore Roosevelt…

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

Screenshot taken from 16MM Kodachrome motion picture film by Barney Elliott.. Via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TacomaNarrowsBridgeCollapse_in_color.jpg#/media/File:TacomaNarrowsBridgeCollapse_in_color.jpg

“Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse in color” by Barney Elliott; The Camera Shop

Drunken Generals and the Spirit of David

GenUSGrantOne of the greatest generals from the North during the Civil War was Ulysses S. Grant. Although a brilliant tactician, he was considered by some to be a drunk. In the face of requests to dismiss him, Abraham Lincoln replied…

I cannot spare this man… He fights.

King David was the greatest king Israel had ever known. A renowned warrior… an extravagant worshiper — David became trapped in a web of deceit and manipulation. What started as an illicit affair ended in murder and cover-up. He was plunged into a place of emotional darkness and despair. Yet in spite of all of his mistakes, God restored David, and referred to him as “a man after My own heart“.

A while back, one of my staff wrote an essay about David. I thought I’d share it with you…

The Spirit of David

“Small, ruddy faced… sings good though…”

In so many words, that was David’s introduction to Samuel and the world. The prophet was sent by Jehovah to the house of Jesse to find and anoint the one who would replace the disobedient Saul as king of Israel. God chose the smallest and most unassuming of many brothers to lead His people, and true to His form, God took “the least of these” and made him the greatest king in Israel’s history.

In modern times we refer to the Spirit of Praise as “The Spirit of David”. There are songs by that title, and it is alluded to in countless others. After all, David was “the sweet singer of Israel”, know probably as well for his harp picking as his rock slinging. At least in certain spear-hurling circles, he was loved and despised for both. But let’s face it… when it came to worship, David knew how. He threw off tradition and trappings, and set out to worship God Almighty, no matter what it cost him. At times in his life, I believe that nothing mattered more to him that knowing he was right with his Creator.

But there is more to the Spirit of David than meets the eye. Afer all, how can you just take the good and forget the rest. There was the dark side of David’s life as well…

There was David the adulterer…

David the murderer…

David the hypocrite…

David the lousy dad…

David the ineffective leader.

Yessir, it is a package deal. His imperfections were obvious. Can good praise and worship overlook a life that had that many and that glaring of sins? Can good harp playing cover a life marked by repeated failure and turmoil?

“…As far as the east is from the west.”

That’s how far God promises to throw the sins of those who turn their hearts to Him. He promises to remember them no more. It was good enough for David. It’s good enough for us. We don’t understand… we don’t have to. It is an unconditional promise of God, a promise rooted in mercy and grace. It is a promise that transcends our thought process. Sure, I don’t understand it… I’m not God. He does, however.

So let’s set the record straight:

David was an adulterer… but he was a man after God’s own heart.

David was a murderer… but his desire was toward God. (Don’t believe me? Read any Psalm he wrote).

David was a lousy dad… but he had a Heavenly Father who never gave up on him.

And as hard as it may be for us to believe, He’ll never give up on us either. Ever.

The Spirit of David is the Spirit of Praise. Praise out of an imperfect heart that understands vertical praise in spite of horizontal failure.

Carols, Carnegie, & The Life of the Overcomer

One of the most loved Christmas stories of all time would have to be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. There have been dozens of adaptations on film and television, dating back as far as 1901. One such version was An American Christmas Carol (1979) starring Henry Winkler as Benedict Slade (the Scrooge character). In the movie, his partner (and Jacob Marley parallel) is a shrewd businessman by the name of Jack Latham. When his ghost appears to Slade, he makes a profound observation…

Each day, each man is given a thousand chances — but they’re missed forever once they put you in the ground.

Holly and snowThere is a common saying that goes, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” A similar sentiment can be said about failure… “The bitterness of failure will never be as bad as the bitterness of never having tried.”

Dale Carnegie once said that “discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones of success.”

So, here are my questions for you: Has God given you a task, but fear of failure has kept you paralyzed? Has past failure kept you in a place of darkness and despair?

If so, here are a couple of simple rules to live by…

1. Regardless of what you have done, God is bigger than your failure. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and no failure is final for anyone that trusts in Him.

2. If you find yourself doubting rule #1, God’s Word always rings true…

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Whether success or temporary failure, with the Presence of God in your life, you’ll never go through it alone.