The key to overcoming failure, is not how you deal with the disappointment but how quickly you write it off as experience and get back on track. That was wise advice from psychologist Maria Peer.
It is possible to wallow in failure and allow it to dictate who we are or who we are not. Do you ever get the feeling “I’m not good enough!” That definitely defies the biblical word, you can do all things through Christ.
Sports teams are at the height of analysis and scrutiny. After a loss, it is common for sports teams to review videos and find areas that need improvement or correction. Their focus is on the next game but their experience comes from learning from past efforts, past failures even. The coaches are vital in looking for improvement. I think of Jesus in the role of coaching wisdom and encouragement.
The Apostle Paul focused on the prospect of failing. ‘Lest than by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.’ (1 Corinthians chapter 9, verse 27)
This is an interesting choice of words!
The word translated ‘castaway’ was taken from making pottery. The word castaway applied to a cracked pot, a finished effort that would not pass inspection. It was unfit for the use planned by the potter. (Ever felt like that?)
In his letter to Corinth Paul used specific sports images . “Do you not know that those who in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?” Then he exhorts: “Run in such a way that you may win.” Then he further said: “I box in this way, not as beating the air.” Here he is referring to discipline. As he equips his own life, his efforts must be meaningful. Targeted. Hit the mark.
Failure often paralyses. It drains our confidence and causes us to react negatively.
Failure is often a major weight after a divorce. There are many who flatly oppose divorce on what they assume to be biblical grounds but is their sweeping assessment accurate?
Divorcees respond in different ways. Some are embarrassed, humiliated and ashamed. Others may be relieved. Shock, hurt, panic and confusion can follow divorce. It may be an overwhelming sense of failure.
If children are involved, their unhappiness will add to the stress and trauma. Spiritual hurt will add to the load, especially if there is a lack of understanding among your Christian friends.
A marriage cannot work if there is no mutual submission. I have advised a couple to divorce because I saw no positive outcome for their relationship. In a case like that one, it is not in my opinion so much a failure as an escape.
Author Emily Lockhart put it very appropriately: “Divorce shreds the muscles of our hearts so that they will hardly beat without a struggle.” (We Were Liars, E Lockhart)
Failure at school is a real stress for so many young students today. But we may have failed years ago, and the big ‘F’ hangs overhead like a huge grey cloud.
Finances may be our area of failure. The bank account or lack of it, is a constant reminder of our worthlessness. It is important in such a situation to consider how much wealth has been invested in family, friends or community.
Your Bank of Life may well be flush!
It is sad to feel a failure in family life. The Bible provides healthy advice for a wholesome happy family. You or others may disregard biblical wisdom but that sows relationship failure.
Repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation bring healing. If others have wounded you, be more than a conqueror. Forgive them. Love and pray for them and sow the seeds of victory. Charles Dickens said: “I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.” Be sure to build reliable, trustworthy friends. This is where belonging to a local church is so important.
Make certain you enjoy wholesome fun! We live in a day where immorality is glorified. Alcohol addiction is common and even the most dangerous drugs are glamorized. In so many ways evil is declared to be good and good is considered pious and restrictive.
There is a famous illustration from George Bernard Shaw: “A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”
Among my favorite books of all time is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Consider this quote as a most appropriate word about failure.
“Now we cannot...discover our failure to keep God's law except by trying our very hardest (and then failing). Unless we really try, whatever we say there will always be at the back of our minds the idea that if we try harder next time we shall succeed in being completely good. Thus, in one sense, the road back to God is a road of moral effort, of trying harder and harder. But in another sense it is not trying that is ever going to bring us home. All this trying leads up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, "You must do this. I can't.”
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
His career started at WINTV (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ross' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/ron-ross.html