Training Wheels

We live in a world where we only count successes…material successes at that.  We will lie, assume fake identities, and downright ignore people in order to avoid discussing our failures.  It’s like we live to paint a picture where everything depicted is vibrant, fruitful, serene, opulent and organized because we don’t want to put our weaknesses, doubt, and fears on display.  We don’t want anyone to know about the struggle.  We just want them to see everything we achieved once we finally made it through the struggle.  But, what does that really accomplish or teach us?  There’s no real way to appreciate the victory and humility that comes with success if you never acknowledge and embrace your failures.

Failure is a necessary component of success.  You have to fall down in order to appreciate what it means to stand.  Now, I don’t believe that the level of effort you put into anything should be diminished because you’re expecting to fail.  Anything you do should be the best reflection of your gifts, skills, and work ethic no matter how small the task, and you certainly should never plan to fail.  But, you also shouldn’t be discouraged if everything doesn’t go exactly as planned.  Sometimes setbacks are set-ups for what God knows is best.  And if you know like I know, then you’ve discovered that God’s plan for your life involves a constant building and transformation of your character.  Consequently, you can’t let disappointments and failures deter you, because then you run the risk of 1.) missing out on a critical assignment that you need to complete to move to the next phase of life or 2.) lacking the traits and/or solid experience you will need to achieve a goal, manage conflict, persevere in times of trouble, or discern who and what should have a place in your life.

I often find that even though most of us say we don’t care what others think, we really do.  Humans are relational creatures.  We seek validation and acceptance from others sometimes without even knowing it.  While we shouldn’t consume ourselves trying to make everyone happy, we should always seek to surround ourselves with people who are supportive, truthful, and constructively critical (Notice I said constructive…constructive criticism doesn’t put you down. It helps you determine what you can improve).  We should be able to share our thoughts and circumstances without feeling like we’re going to be judged or ridiculed.  Anyone who genuinely cares about you and who you will become will celebrate you in your valleys and peaks of life because they know your failures don’t define everything about you.  We have to stop hiding everything that makes us who we are. We’re cheating ourselves and the people around us from what could be a valuable lesson or testimony they may need to hear to propel them in the direction of their own success.  Whether we like it or not, we are all a conduit for someone’s success.  In other words, someone is depending on your lesson for their blessing!

A failure doesn’t mean that you’re incapable or incompetent.  Your reaction to a failure just signifies the level of maturity, strength, and courage you have to keep going in spite of the original result.  God never orchestrates anything by accident and He always has the final say.  Never feel compelled to measure your success to someone else.  We’re all trying to find our way.  I challenge you (and myself) to be more concerned with ensuring that everything you do is rooted in the authority and truth of who you were created to be.  It is only then that our failures become opportunities to achieve the true merits of life.


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