Failure Is Never Final
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."1
December 1—or any other day of the year—may have been the final day of your divorce, the day you were rejected, the day you lost your job, or the day you failed a major final exam; but remember, as difficult as it was, December 2 was the first day of the rest of your life. It was a day of new beginnings. So, if you have suffered a major loss or setback, and haven't done your grieving, be sure to do it now. It may not be easy, and it will take time, but it is tremendously important that you face, accept, and resolve your pain; learn to get up even if you have to drag yourself up, and go on. The following suggestions will help you to do this effectively:
Develop the right attitude. Attitude is what makes the difference between a painful experience becoming a failure or a success. You can let the loss leave you timid and afraid to step out again for fear of being hurt, or you can determine that your failure will be your teacher. As William James said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude."
Use your failures/losses to enrich your life. True, we all need mountaintop experiences from time to time to encourage us, but we don't grow through these. It is in the valley of disappointment and through our failures/losses that we are given the opportunity to take stock of our life and move toward a new dimension of life, and toward a greater level of growth and maturity.
Know what your purpose in life is. The more clearly defined that your life purpose is—and the more deeply it is embedded in your unconscious mind—the less likely it will be that disappointments and failures will set you back.
A spacecraft en route to the moon is off course 90 percent of the time. It is constantly pulled back by the earth's gravity, and is continually drawn to one side or the other by other forces. But it has a built-in computer that has a singleness of purpose that homes in on the moon. The computer is making continual corrections to keep the spacecraft on target with its purpose and goal.
Life's like that. If your eye is on your goal, if you have a singleness of purpose, nothing will stop you getting to where you plan and choose to go.
Remember that failure or disappointment is an event, not a person. Because you may have failed in your marriage or job, in another relationship, or other situation, doesn't mean that you are a failure as a person. Not at all. Realize that the only real failure is not to try, or not to keep on trying, or not to get up one more time than you fall or get knocked down. The important thing is to learn from your past, invest it as an opportunity to grow, and to move ahead.
Give God a chance. If you feel as if you have failed or believe you've done wrong, ask God to forgive you—and be sure to forgive yourself. Then turn your failure into a stepping-stone toward a better you.
Where a bone is broken and heals, it becomes the strongest part of the bone. The same is true of your broken places—where you have been hurt, have fallen and failed, or are afraid. When you bring these to God for his healing, his strength is made perfect through your weakness.2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, no matter what setback happens to me, whether it is my fault or that of another, please help me not to become bitter but better by using it as an opportunity to help me to grow and become the person you envision for me to be. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).
2. Adapted from How to Mend a Broken Heart, by Dick Innes. Available at ACTS' online store at www.actscom.com/store.