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Failing Forward

“I am not perfect…I make mistakes…and sometimes…I completely and utterly fail.” Now to some of you this may come as quite a surprise and to others it may seem as the most obvious and rhetorical statement I could make. But acknowledging this fact to myself has been…well can I say both…”traumatic” and “liberating”!

Failure, imperfection, making mistakes…none of these things has ever been high on my list of things to do. In fact, I have spent most of my life trying my best to avoid all of them. I took great pride in how I had planned my life around avoiding failing, having a plan A, B, C and D. Looking at others mistakes, and swearing to myself that I would never…ever…ever trod down those paths. I told myself often, “If people were smarter, or worked harder…than failure would not be the outcome.” I had convinced myself that “I” was in control of my life and destiny…and all I had to do was “plan my work and then work my plan” to be a success in life.

But life happened and is happening! It is teaching me better than any class ever could, that no matter how many plans I might have…one day…they’re not going to work! I’m learning that sometimes life comes at you sideways while you’re busy looking forward, and you get knocked down without ever knowing what hit you. I’m learning that sometimes the thing that you think will kill you has really come to free you.

Recently, I came face to face with a situation that illuminated my own imperfections, mistakes and failures. Looking in the mirror at myself, I felt the full weight of the disappointment, anger, and insecurity that so often comes with admitting to yourself that you have failed. At first, I tried to blame others for my actions and behaviors and I even tried to blame God for not having my back…for letting me fail! How could God let this happen? I thought He wanted to see me prosper, see me healthy, see me successful, see me blessed! This feeling of being a failure, of not being enough, of not being valued, of not being loved was so traumatic for me initially that I couldn’t see anything good coming out of it. I couldn’t reconcile my failing with prevailing. Failing forward? No way!

But God…even in our mess, he has a “mess”age! He began to remind me through his Word, that there is no success or failure in my life that He doesn’t intend to work for my good. He began to show me that I can learn as much from doing the right thing as I can from doing the wrong thing. He showed me that my mistakes and failures are not a surprise to Him…and that failing doesn’t have to send me falling backwards. In fact, when I trust God with my failures, He can and will move me forward.

The situation I thought was going to kill me…really did! It killed some of the pride I had, some of the judgmental attitude I possessed, and it killed some of the foolish thinking I had about my plan being better than God’s. But, it also brought me freedom. I now know that God is able to take all of my past and future imperfections, mistakes and failures and use them to make me stronger, smarter and bolder so that I can accomplish His purpose and plan for my life, which is really the measure of success that I am looking for.

So next time you miss the mark, or don’t quite get it right…or downright fail. Remember God’s plan is to prosper you and not to harm you, that He will take ALL things and work it for your good, that He is the God who can do exceedingly and abundantly more than you can ever imagine. When you fail…do it forward!

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