Tag Archives: failure
That’s a good attitude to have when you’re experiencing a low in your life. When your family is not so great. When your church relationships are down. When your finances are NOT up. When you’re sick or your business/job sucks.
Look forward and insist on believing in success.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil –– Psalm 23:4. Sometimes it’s just a long valley.
Photo source: Pinterest. I neither own the rights to it, nor am I making any money on it.
Consider Joseph. For having a call of God on his life, he was reviled by his brothers and rebuked by his parents. Eventually the brothers sold him into slavery, after very nearly killing him.
And in the end, God raised up Joseph to great leadership in Egypt. He was the catalyst for enlarging Israel in the incubator of Egypt. He was the man for the plan, but the plan was unrecognizably from God. How did Joseph not spiral in depression from such rejection from his loved ones?
But he kept tinkering with planes and eventually became and engineer at Lockheed’s secret skunkworks working on the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter. The project was dubbed “hopeless diamond” because fly-ability was made extremely difficult by the separate small faces of its surface that didn’t reflect enough radar to register on a screen.
The non-streamline surface made it so un-fly-able that it crashed on its first flight. I remember my dad couldn’t sleep for like a week from the stress. At the time, I of course had no idea about the ultra-secret project.
On this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my dad’s example. How is success achieved? Through repeated failures. Failure is a stepping stone.
Thomas Alba Edison failed 1,000 time before hitting on tungsten as the ideal filament, with a vacuum in the bulb, for the incandescent light that sparked the electrical revolution.
Failure is a part of life. Good thing we have the unfathomable riches of God’s grace to cover our personal failures (our sin).
As the waves wash the shore, so God’s grace continually refreshes, renews and restores.
Chilean Mauricio Pinilla commemorated his World Cup failure — a late strike that would have defeated Brazil had it not bounced off the bar — with a tattoo on his back titled: “One centimeter from glory.”
Why would he immortalize a painful memory? It’s on his back.
As Christians, we must be forward-looking (I don’t think Pinilla is Christian). We must put our failures behind us and strive for better things in the future.
How to pray? Bible prayers.
Joshua mucked up by not praying . He basically authorized terrorists (Gibeonites) to live among the Israelites by failing to consult God before striking a deal. Lesson: To avoid failure, we ought to pray (the subject of my last post).
But I don’t want a downer. Who hasn’t tripped up? According to George Barna, approximately 100% of Americans fail significantly at some point in their life. Actually, I’m lying. That’s not a George Barna statistic. It’s a Rom. 3:23 statistic. And it’s experience. How many times have I failed? At least a zillon. And that’s just counting starting in 2013.
Here’s the takeaway to the bummer story. Joshua owned up to his mistakes and turned them into a winner. When fellow Canaanites realized the Gibeonites had “sold out” to the invading Israelites, they ganged up to lynch them. The Gibeonites, with a contract whose ink wasn’t even dry yet, cashed in on their new alliance and asked the Israelites to defend them. Joshua set aside his smarting and used his smarts: he vanquished all the other Canaanites. The Gibeonites had tricked him, but he used his embarrassment to his advantage.
God’s power promptly materialized. Not only did they utterly smash their enemies, the Israelites witnessed the third most extraordinary miracle confounding the laws of nature (#1 Jesus walked on water, #2 Moses separated the Red Sea): On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” — Josh 10:12 NIV.
This gave them time to continue winning the war. The enemies couldn’t escape in the dark of night.
The upshot: prayer turns failures into successes!
Joy Womack could have resigned herself to failure when she was kicked out of the renowned Kirov Academy at age 13. They cited her inflexibility and predicted failure for her.
But Joy didn’t give up. Today the 19-year-old is the first American ever to graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy — and the first American to be contracted by the Bolshoi professionally. (Ok, so she wasn’t good enough for Kirov? Now, she’s winning roles traditionally reserved for Russians at the world’s preeminent ballet company, a reign of unquestioned dominance that has lasted for 200 years.)
Joy, a vibrant, Spirit-filled Christian, embodies her name. She got saved as a child and attended our church before her family moved to Texas. Her Twitter account says “I dance for Jesus.” She evangelizes everyone she meets.
I had scant conversation with her when she was a kid because I was a missionary in Guatemala when she was growing up in the church. But as I think about her overcoming failure, of her rejecting rejection, I’m inspired myself.
“She worked really, really hard,” her mom, Dr. Eleanor Womack, said. “She sought coaches and other techniques to improve her flexibility.” From the looks of the photo above, she’s not lacking flexibility anymore.
The video below was produced by the New York Times when they broke the story of Joy.
Thank you, Joy! (All photos are from Joy’s Facebook page)
Truth be told, I cried — after I hung up the phone. The Los Angeles Times editor fired me for a botched reporting job as his UCLA “stringer” in 1988. After four years of intensive training to break into journalism, was I hopeless?
Thank God for people who encouraged me (in the church).
A funny thing happened a few months later. The UCLA stringership* at the New York Times opened up, and my friend recommended me. I landed the spot and did a bang-up job. I got bylines and learned a ton from some really talented people. Because of my work, the New York Times scooped the Los Angeles Times in its own backyard a number of times**.
If I hadn’t gotten fired, I wouldn’t have even been considered for the spot (because of conflict of interest). So the horrible experience turned out to be a great thing!
What you do at a failure is critical:
- Get support from friends who love you
- Learn to not make the same mistakes
- Trust in God, not in your own wherewithal
- Keep good friends; they are a network of opportunities in the future
- Believe in yourself because not many in this world will believe in you
* a “stringer” is an onsite person, not a regular reporter or an intern, who produces occasional articles or does local interviewing to be incorporated in a bigger piece. The New York Times had a journalism student at each major university across the nation. They paid a small stipend, and the student got great experience.
** “scoop” in journalism you beat your competition, getting a news story out first.
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then CHOOSE for yourselves THIS DAY whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. — Josh. 24:15 NIV my caps.
The results of doubt are disaster. The much-admired atheist Frederick Nietzsche died insane (brought on by syphilis?), fighting against a carriage driver who was whipping his horses. A tree is recognized by its fruit — Matt. 12:33b NIV.
Aside from total doubt (atheist, agnostic) there is partial doubt. This is the “believer” who does not believe for healing or for answers to prayers. This is a midroader, neither an unbeliever, nor a total, radical, Bible-believing Christian. I find myself constantly trying to wrestle my way out of this quandary.
The addict struggles to believe he can be free. The failure struggles to believe he can be a success. The sick struggles to believe for healing. The pioneer pastor struggles to believe for people and finances. Write your circumstance here: ____________ struggles to believe.
Belief is a daily choice. It requires effort. To not believe, requires no effort. That’s why prayer and Bible-reading in the morning is such a good idea: it fills you with faith. Choose to believe today.
My pastor, Rob Scribner, tried out for professional football to prove he couldn’t do it.
He just liked it. But he thought he wasn’t good enough. Because of hard work, he wound up on the team, playing for the then-LA Rams from 1973 to 1976. A lot of other guys didn’t even try out because they thought they wouldn’t make it.
Fear of failure is a major problem. Whatever you long to do but are afraid of doing, that is what you should do.
If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. — Thomas Edison
The explosion of “fantasy” — sports, Second Life, etc. — is illustrative. People want more but are afraid to live it.
Christian, when you overcome fear, you become dangerous to the devil.
We lost Tuesday 8-0. We lost today 8-0. We are facing tougher teams; ours is absorbing injuries. Kids have skipped practices, and the results are manifest on the field. When Lighthouse Christian Academy tied our first soccer game, when won our second 9-2, when we won a
couple more, it was exciting, easy to want to play and put in the effort.
Now it is hard. Kids might want to bail out. But now is exactly the moment of character, the foundation of excellence. If we allow ourselves to become “losers” in our minds, then we will. If not, we will win again this season, and we will win next year!
The reality of life is that everyone loses more than wins. What you do when you lose makes you win.
Faith does not drag down with discouragement. It remains buoyant, hopeful, expectant of good. It persists. It constantly looks for the victory just around the corner.
Just ask George Washington. He lost seven successive battles but won the war. He was voted president of the newly formed United States of America. His revolution inspired freedom movements among colonies in both Americas (North and South).
Did he kick himself for mucking up when he became famous for retreating? Did he grovel with feelings of inadequacy? I don’t know. What I do know is that he continued fighting until he won. Place no time limits on God. If things don’t work out well now, they may later. Don’t despair, just keep plugging away!
Every time you fail, you’re one step closer to the formula of success!
The king of setback is of course Joseph. He dreams of greatness and leadership. Instead, he narrowly escapes death and winds up a slave. If that weren’t bad enough, he then is thrown into prison. He spends some 20 years in forced labor and then as a convict.
But the dude never stops dreaming. In fact, he interprets dreams. Overnight, he’s freed from jail and set upon a throne second only to Pharoah. He orchestrates a seven year famine survival for nations and brings the fledgling nation of Israel down the the Egyptian incubator. Four hundreds years later, they’re a few million, ready to take possession of the Promised Land.
Every step was necessary. Any one of them could have caused moaning. Discouragement could have overpowered the poor kid’s heart. But Joseph maintained perspective! They shackled his hands but never his heart.
Don’t despair with today’s setbacks. In reality, they are steps towards tomorrow’s successes.
But God doesn’t measure success by finances. He measures success by souls — and just ONE SOUL is incredibly important to him. Now as far as finances go, if you have barely enough to scrape by — and you are ministering to at least one soul — then by Bible standards and by God’s standards, you are a success.
So stop bumming over worldly comparisons that intrude and impose on the church. Jeremiah certainly didn’t have a lot of “members in his church.” And Paul knew how “to be in need… I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” — Philippians 4:12 NIV.
Cheer yourself up! As you pray for finances, believe and wait. God will provide enough — maybe just enough — in His timing. As long as you have one soul in your church, you are providing a valuable service, and you’re a hero for Heaven. May scoffers shut up. God doesn’t measure by worldly (American) measures.