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.