Nobody likes failure. Even when we have been told that failure is good for us, that it is a stepping stone and that you don’t learn from success nearly as much as you learn from failure, we still don’t like it! For many of us, failure can be discouraging, debilitating and even depressing. So, what do we do with this? We learn from it. We look into the lives of those whom we consider successful and study their failures and their reactions to those failures to see how we can use their experiences to help us navigate our own experiences. The Bible is full of great examples of faithful ones who had many failures, and the Bible is also full of their success stories afterwards. What are we waiting for? Let’s get started with this whole making-failure-work-for-me thing!
Probably a good place to start to make failure work for us is to understand how failure works its way into our lives. There are actually four basic ways that we come to fail. The first way is as a result of a lack of knowledge. Let’s say that you try and do something but you were legitimately never informed of some key point in the process. Failure becomes an almost sure thing in this scenario. The good news here is that this reason for failure is probably the most easy to fix, because the reason for the failure is both simple and external. This means our ego will most likely stay intact as the failure was not generated by our own carelessness and moving forward can be easy and productive.
Let’s look at an example of failure that can sound like a lack of knowledge but is really generated by the second way failure comes to visit. You’re a guy and you are driving (dare I go down THIS road?) to an unfamiliar destination. Somehow someone must have moved the destination because it is not where you have driven to (I can say this – I’m a guy and I have done this). As it gets to the point of being late, your wife is telling you to stop and ask someone (of course there is no cell service – they must have moved that as well) but you insist on finding the place on your own. Guys, face it – this is epic failure, not due to a lack of knowledge but due to (I’m going to say it) a lack of maturity. Failure can often come because we are just not grown up enough to recognize it.
What do we have so far? We have two ways to fail and not a whole lot about what to do with them, and we haven’t even mentioned the other two ways that failure finds us. This can only mean that you need to check out our June 19, 2017 podcast, “How Do You Manage Failure?” Part 1. In that podcast we get really practical about learning the process of failure and how to maximize it for our benefit. We also take a look at some really big questions about how God views our failures and the failures of the world. Checking this out will really be worth your time! Oh and guys, I promise you won’t have to ask directions!
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