Failure is Never Final
I hate failing. As I write that I realize that I’m sure most everyone hates failing but I really, really hate failing! I think there are probably a whole lot of reasons that play into my intense hatred of failure, one of them being that I hate looking foolish. I believe that some of that is pride that God is still working out of me. I also equate failing with a negative mark on my character. If I couldn’t get it right, then that says something about who I am as a person. Also, something that I know God is actively working out of me. This blog is nothing if not written from a place of progress rather than perfection. Today I am progressing with failure.
The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.
- Proverbs 24:16 NLT
As my girls and I were reading through some Proverbs last night this verse really stuck out to me. Tripping over something once is an accident, twice is concerning, but seven times? Seven times is a pattern. Seven times is when I start to believe that I’m never ever going to get it—that it will always be this way. Seven times is where I need to be reminded that it’s not about always getting it right, it’s about what I do when I get it wrong.
I am a firm believer that the way that I react to my failures is just as much of a testimony (if not more so) than when I get things right all the time. Though I hate failure, it gives me an opportunity to admit that I was wrong and get up and try again. It’s the getting back up that matters. It’s the getting back up that builds resiliency and perseverance. It is in the getting back up where we find hope.
I want to take a minute to say that I’m not writing that as an excuse for unrepentant sin cycles. Those are the epitome of not getting back up. I aim to never give anyone an excuse for sin. What I do want to do is be a messenger of hope when we don’t always get it right.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you may know by now that I can struggle with distraction. Just last night, my girls and I didn’t read the Bible together until ten something because I had gotten distracted. I hate even writing that now because I have written about it so many times before. It is the spot that I keep tripping over again and again, way more than seven times!
Sometimes I feel like I will never find freedom, that I may always be saddled with the burden of distraction, that I will always fail here. But then my God speaks and reminds me that I am more than my shortcomings. In fact, I am more than a conqueror, and conquerors refuse to stay down!
Last week I wrote about the faithfulness of God, one thing I neglected to mention then is this: He is faithful even when we don’t deserve it because quite frankly we never deserve it. He is faithful even when I stumble over the same thing for the seventh (or seventieth time). He is faithful even when I am not. He is faithful because that is who He is and in that, I can put my trust. Because He is faithful I can get up and try again.
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.”
- Psalm 37:23-24 NLT
Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” I love that and need to be reminded often. It’s not about getting everything right, it’s about learning and growing and being transformed. But more than anything else, it is remembering that we serve a faithful God! That even if we do stumble we are never “hurled headlong” as the NASB says. That is where we can hang our hope. That is how we get back up.
So, beloved, whatever it is that you keep stumbling over, do not be dismayed. You are loved by a God that is holding you by the hand and He will not allow you to fall. He is delighted in you! Your failure is never final because you serve a God who is victorious! Get back up, learn from the stumble and try again. Always try again.
Written by Amanda Strauser