To list everything I've failed at would fill several pages, perhaps a book. Failures are found throughout my whole life from my beginning steps, to many “E” spelling tests in grade school, to my driving test and on into marriage and meals that turned into disasters or making one wrong decision after another. Sometimes, even what I'm good at doesn't work.
I'll use the example of pie baking because that is what came to mind first. I make all kinds of pies from a Pumpkin Peace Pipe Pie, custard, berry, chiffon, cream and sponge, to Reese's Peanut Butter. My Coconut Cream sends people back to their own mother's gift of turning ingredients into a delicious memory. Recently, a simple Raspberry with crumble topping won the title of “The best I've ever made.”
Honestly, no one knows how many pies were tossed out the door because they didn't set, the crust burned or I forgot the sugar or another ingredient causing them to fail to meet the standard of a pie worthy of giving to another person.
I fail at what I love to do. I often fail when I try new things. I fail when I try to express what I'm thinking or accomplishing what I need to get done in a day. Yep. I fail. However, I do keep going. I do continue to try new things. Failure is all about learning that if what I did doesn't work the way I tried it, I need to do it a different way. It is never about letting it consume you to the point where you feel you cannot go on.
If you quit doing what you were doing, find yourself dodging issues, appeasing difficult people, and mishandling tough encounters, you probably have entered a place where you stop trying because you already believe you will not succeed. Like playing a board game where you can't advance unless you shake the dice to move, we can only advance in life by turning our failures into stepping stones.
Unfortunately there is always bad information out there for people who are looking for ways to change what has happened in their life. In this topic alone I ran across an article that said if you failed at life, you might as well kill yourself. Wow! I pray that isn't you. Everyone fails at something, but the good news is, it can change in a moment.
I think of Peter all the time, in fact every time a rooster crows. I think of how easy it is to say one thing and do another, even when you believe you never will. Here was a man, not an indecisive young person, who said “I'll never disown you Jesus.” But shortly thereafter the rooster crows and Jesus looks at him. I can feel his piercing eyes and how they went straight to Peter's heart and revealed his condition to him. He did what he said he would never do.
Is that you? Do you believe the lie that this is how it has to be from now on? How it is now, does not have to be the way it will be. The option resides within you.
Peter realized he not only failed to keep his word, but he did it not once, but three times in a row. The knowing look that Jesus gave him had to sear his heart. He would change, even if it meant his death. His life was complicated by living in a world that said if you believe in Jesus you will die. We live in that same world and the fear of what others think. The thought that we will loose everything if we stand up for and have faith in Christ haunts us. Will we fail at this too? These thoughts keep us from advancing and knowing we finally are headed in the right direction and our feet are on solid ground at last.
It's all about handing over what we haven't been good at and letting the Lord show us the way to go. A key verse says when we do that, we have to walk in it. It's like making a pie, if you follow directions you end up with something good. Don't, and you find yourself back where Peter was when Jesus looked at him.
It's important to see what happened when Peter was unsuccessful at keeping his word not once, but three times.
“...And he went outside and wept bitterly, Matthew 26:75, NIV. He repented.
Some failures are easy for us to recognize and work through, some are not. Hopefully all will bring change in the end and we will find the life we were meant to have and learn to realize even in our worst moments we are still loved by the Lord. We need to practice to be successful, we need to study to pass the test, we need to trust and walk with the Savior who never lets us where we are, but always reaches a hand out to help us get back on track even when we fail him.
When you fail, because everyone does, don't let it stonewall you from trying again because the greatest, all-knowing, forgiving God of the universe says all things are possible.
Jesus Christ didn't fail by hanging on the cross. Instead, he gave the one thing, his life, which cancels our failures and makes it possible for us to enter heaven.
Have you ever felt your life was just falling through your fingers like sand? I remember hearing Doug Oldham using his booming voice years ago to hammer that truth into my heart, when he sang “We have this Moment Today.”
I'm afraid I'm guilty of stopping-up the holes in the dike of life. It's impossible to take care of every break in the wall at one time. And yet we try even when there are more holes than fingers and toes can possibly plug. We can't contain all of life's problems in our hands at one time. The good news is we were never meant to.
Our attempt to somehow manage all of the problems of life that crop up in one day and remain sane is an unrealistic picture. It's like holding sand in your hands, most of it falls through because we have cracks between our fingers. Sometimes it may only be a grain or two that falls, other times it's as if we have lost all control and we are left holding only a few grains.
I can look down at times and see all the parts and pieces of what I was unable to hold onto. That's what happens when we try to control circumstances of not only our problems but everyone's as well, all while trying to stick to a time clock of how it should all play out in a perfect world. That's the problem isn't it? We don't live in a perfect world and no matter how tightly we hold our fingers together we will continue to drop something.
When you cup your hands under a waterfall to stop it, how much do you end up with; a few teaspoons at most. Our hands were not made to hold back all the waterfall can produce. Life is no different. We need to break it down into manageable increments of what we can or should do for ourselves and let the rest in the capable hands of the Lord.
Here are the lyrics of the chorus from “We Have This Moment Today.”
We have this moment to hold in our hands
And to touch as it slips
Through our fingers like sand
And tomorrow may never come
But we have this moment today.
Isaiah spoke of all the bricks falling down and how we try to rebuild with distressed stones. Later in chapter 40 he writes, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?” verse 12, NIV.
Has your life seemed to crumble and everything you touch falls apart? Could it be that like me, you try your best to make all things right? It's so overwhelming. But when I read the word of God and see how senseless it is for me to even think I can get everything in line... I find I'm lying to myself.
We all need God. From the person who has never had any interest in him, to the one who sits in the pew/chair every Sunday morning. God said he has a plan for us. Have we wandered down the wrong road long enough to see that it doesn't have to be much to be better than where we are now?
Sooner or later that dike I mentioned is going to spring another leek and when it does what's you plan? While my way of doing things seems right to me, God's way will be the right way and the only way I know what it is... is to stay in constant communication with him.
Some folks have drug, drinking, intellectual, pride or finical barricades built to keep God out. The secret to all of those things not being the issue anymore, is to let God in. Let the dike break and wash over you and cause the desert places of your life to blossom into new life, eternal life. To many try to juggle it all. It's about letting go and letting God have control.
He warns us about worry and even tells us it is a sin just like all those other “issues.” That's heavy, because it is so easy to do.
Yesterday is gone... nothing we can do about it. Tomorrow isn't here yet, nothing we can do about that. Today as God said, is the day of salvation. We can find that favor in the Lord today. 2 Corinthians 6:2 That is, if we still aren't trying to stick our finger in the dike, trying to catch a waterfall or hold the Sarah Desert in our hands. An hour glass is a good place for sand. Its flow is controlled and you can be in charge. Trust in the Lord to handle life one day at a time.
Under the circumstances of life is not where God wants you or I. Take the words of the song and capture the moment. If you haven't asked Jesus to come into your life, do it now. If you are an “in charge” person, ask God's forgiveness and allow his direction to be your guide. Jesus Christ frees you up for those moments in life that really matter and prepares you for eternity.