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Posts Tagged ‘failure’

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I love baseball and often use the game and its many strategies to help explain my take on life. For instance, a successful hitter in professional baseball hits .300. Any person who plays ball would love to be a 300-hitter. But that means they failed to hit the ball 70% of the time. When looking at success from the perspective of baseball, 30% is great!

I’ve found that perspective changes much of what I determine as a success or failure. There were many, many days I felt I was a failure as a wife, parent, friend, employee, leader…basically, anything I tried, any role I fulfilled. But, looking back, I think I succeeded more than I imagined at the time (not trying to get high-fives here) and I know I learned a great deal from my failures and shortcomings.

  • I learned to get back up. Falling short isn’t permanent, unless I want it to be.
  • I learned to take a step back. My perceived failure may be God’s way of helping me adjust my expectations.
  • I learned that my failure can be a learning tool to help me to my next success.

When I was a high school senior, my American History teacher gave me a failing grade on an essay assignment. I was devastated. I had never received a C, let alone an F, on any assignment in high school. Thankfully, he explained his reasoning and talked me out of a meltdown. He said, for this particular assignment, my writing was not up to par with my usual efforts. It seemed stale, boring, and without any credible research to back up my thesis. Furthermore, he said, I needed to step up my writing game if I wanted to be successful in my college classes…and he gave me another chance to do better. Which, I guess I did, since I got an A the second time around.

That particular failure (along with a wise teacher) served me well in college and in life. I learned not every failure is devastating, and most can be, and should be, tools to help me learn and grow and get better.

So I’ve learned to celebrate my failures – taking some time to evaluate, gain some perspective, and get back up to try again, or let it go.

I’m not perfect. Big surprise, huh? You’re not perfect either. Still not surprised? How about this – no one is or ever has been or ever will be perfect (except Jesus, ok?). Failure, falling short, is a natural part of life. Something everyone goes through more times than we’d like or care to admit. I may not be perfect, but I am forgiven. Jesus isn’t looking to use perfect people, just willing ones. And if He’s willing to love and use a failure like me, I need to cut myself some slack. It’s called grace. Give yourself some.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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Pride.

It’s a nasty thing. Pride keeps me from trying new things, meeting new people, and praying fresh prayers. I don’t want to look foolish or feel uncomfortable. I want people to think highly of me or more accurately, not find fault with me. So I try to be perfect. And fail miserably.

Within the last few years I’ve come to accept my shortcomings a little more. I know now that I’m missing out on fun adventures and amazing friendships. I’ve attempted to live a little bigger and give silliness a try once in a while. As I’ve grown older (and grayer), I’ve tried to see the world through new eyes. Instead of wasting time criticizing others’ looks and behavior, while trying to appear “exactly right,” I’m letting go of pride and embracing who God made me to be. Sometimes silly. Sometimes adventurous. Always less than perfect.

Kris_Morgan_dancing

I still fail. Often.

I still struggle with pride every. single. day.

But I will not give up. Life is too short to give in to an issue that has no place in my life. Or yours. Let go of pride and pick up your dancing shoes.

“Pride leads to destruction.
    A proud attitude brings ruin.” Proverbs 16:18 (ICB)

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I’ve never given up anything for Lent. At least, nothing I seriously desired. Like chocolate. Or coffee. Or pizza. Honestly, those things don’t really have much impact on my life. Giving them up for 40 days isn’t really a hardship. Maybe I should consider giving up a few things that are really holding me back from becoming the woman God desires me to be. ..not just for Lent but for a lifetime. For the next 40 days, I’m going to try to highlight one thing most any of us could give up and live a more epic life!

Day One – Let’s bag up our fear of failure and pitch it!

Anyone who truly faces life head on fears failing at the tasks set before us. But failure happens to all of us. I didn’t learn to walk the very first time I tried. I didn’t get an A on every test, in every subject. I didn’t keep every friend I ever had. I’ve messed up as a wife, mom, friend, leader, employee…and any other role I’ve ever had. Face it – failure is inevitable.

Thankfully, God only uses failures like me. The Bible is full of imperfect people. Men and women who have tried and failed and tried again. The very first man and woman, Adam & Eve, failed at one little thing. Don’t eat from that tree. Epic fail. Moses killed an Egyptian, ran away to live in the desert and questioned God a bunch of times. He let his anger get the best of him sometimes (but really, who wouldn’t with that group?). David. Great writer, pretty decent shepherd but husband and father? Not too good. He can put “adulterer and murderer” on his resume and yet God calls him a “friend of God.” Peter – big mouth, no boundaries, denied Christ 3 times. Goes on to headline Day of Pentecost and opens the door for Gentiles to hear about Jesus. Paul – starts out as killer of Christ-followers, but ends as winner of Best Apostle in the Action/Adventure category. The list goes on and on.

I’m a sports nerd so I’ll use it as an illustration. Any baseball player who hits .400 is considered exceptional. But that’s a guy who misses the ball 6 out of 10 times. No one makes every shot they try or every pass they throw. Probably the best basketball player on the planet, Michael Jordan, once said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life…that’s why I succeed.”

So for the first day of Lent, cut yourself some slack. Let go of your fear of failure and instead, learn and grow from those mistakes. No more excuses. Consider yourself like a toddler learning to walk. When you fall down, sit for a second, blink a couple of times, lean forward, put your hands on the ground, stick your bum in the air, and get back up again!

People who fail image

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