It’s not fun to fail and I don’t know one person who actually enjoys failure. It’s quite humbling and often painful. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. It’s looking back on the failure where you realize the lessons that were learned.
I think of when I was learning Spanish and I got corrected from saying something wrong, I was much less likely to make that same mistake again. I actually learned better through the failed words I tried to speak.
Though there are more, I want to share three things that failure has taught me.
- Just because I failed doesn’t make me a failure. My failure doesn’t define me as a person. When you fail you quickly learn where your foundation lies. Is it in myself or is it in God? Many doubts may come—did I hear God correctly? I thought I had planned perfectly for this, what happened? We may actually never fully understand the why behind our failures.
- I’ve learned what I actually don’t want. For a few years it had been my dream to live in a foreign nation, become fluent in the language and have a community house where us (the community) would reach out to those around us and share the gospel. We dreamed of a movement of community houses spreading all over the nation we would move to. Part of our dream became a reality, we moved to Spain, but within two years of being in Spain, we ended up closing the doors to our first and only community house. It was a painful decision but at the time we felt it was the best one. We had failed.
But we learned that we actually don’t want to do what we thought we did, at least in the way we did it. It wasn’t sustainable. We have some amazing lessons in how we would do things differently, as well as all of the natural learning curves that come from living in a foreign nation, childbirth in a foreign nation, and a language was learned as well and intimate friendships forged. If we wouldn’t have stepped out, we would have missed out on all of those things. Plus, I would probably still be dreaming of the original dream thinking it’s what I want to do in life.
- God teaches us through our failures and is so present with us in them. We may fail, we may feel like we’re alone, but we are not. God is so near to us, affirming us. He isn’t disappointed in us, but He is proud of us—for stepping out in faith, for trying to follow His lead, for trying to hear His voice. Failing can be so freeing. We realize that we’re aren’t perfect and that God isn’t looking for perfect people. He is looking for those who are willing. Those who are willing to say yes, even though they may not know what the road ahead will look like.
I think one of the saddest things we can do is let our failure paralyze us from stepping out in the future.
We’re afraid to say yes to a new dating relationship because we are afraid we’re going to get hurt like the last one. We’re afraid to try the new business venture because we’re afraid we’re going to end up bankrupt again. But it’s in our failures where we learn and evolve as people. It’s in our failures where the core of our being is shaken and we realize where our trust lies. It’s in our failures where we have the potential to discover our destiny.
So please, please, please keep trying. Don’t give up on yourself or on your dreams. The worst thing you can do is give up hope. Yes, let yourself heal, give yourself time, but pick yourself up again and keep walking forward on the road of faith.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” -Confucius
What’s something you’ve failed at and what did you teach you through it? We’d love to hear from you!