What if our failures, the things we perceive as stumbling blocks, are really stepping stones on the way to the next thing God has planned for us?
Listen, I get it. There is no part of our pride that wants to celebrate our mistakes. We’re afraid that when we admit that we can’t do it all perfectly that we’ll be left out, looked over, or left behind. We would rather spin the story to make ourselves look better when, in reality, sometimes we just screw up.
As someone who has made some big mistakes, several repeatedly, I can spin a story in a minute to make sure I don’t look bad. But when we do that – when we fail to fully take responsibility for those mistakes and learn from them – we miss out on the lesson we need to move forward.
I spent some time last week working on a Bible study to go with Holy Hustle, and in my studying I was reminded again that when God has a plan for our lives, He will see it through – regardless of our stumbles, pit stops, or attempts to take control of the situation. So many men and women in Scripture – the big names that are mentioned in Hebrews 11 – served God, loved God, and made some major mistakes.
They doubted, deceived, struggled with jealousy, murdered, had affairs, struggled with pride and anger, and more. But as they learned to obey and trust God, they were able to do incredible work for His Kingdom. God loved us knowing about our mistakes, and He continues to love us when we find ourselves failing again.
“Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” – Romans 5:6-8 (The Message)
When I mess up, my immediate reaction is to – in one way or another – hide. I distance myself from the people I’ve let down and I give up on the work I was doing. For so long I saw mistakes as a sign that I was headed the wrong direction, instead of seeing them as opportunities to pause, reset, and step forward in faith. God doesn’t make mistakes, He always keeps His promises, and He has never wasted an experience in my life to help get me back to the path He’s designed for my life.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss that. I don’t want to be so afraid of failing or making a mistake that I don’t try the new thing God has planned for me. I don’t want to miss the lesson, the chance to grow, the opportunity to allow God’s strength to shine brightly through my weakness, or the next step on this journey.
- When it comes to failure, do you tend to lean more toward hiding or spinning your story?
- What is one practical way this week that you can shift your definition of failure so you can respond differently when mistakes happen?
- How might a new definition of failure give you more grace & understanding for others?