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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Failure Can Be Good for Me

In Proverbs 28:13 it say, “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful.” (TLB)

I usually think of failure as negative. But wise people know how to take advantage of failure. They learn from it. They use it as an education.

One of my purposes in life is to become more like Jesus Christ. And one of the primary tools that God uses in my life to make me what he wants me to be is failure.

So how can failure be good?

1. God uses failure to educate me. Mistakes are simply learning experiences. And some lessons can only be learned through failure. The Bible says, “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful” (Proverbs 28:13 TLB).

If I’m not making any mistakes, then I’m not learning. If I’m not taking any risks, then I’m not growing. I have to let go of my fear of failure, because it’s keeping me from the kind of spiritual growth God planned for me. The freedom from the fear of failure is the freedom to grow.

2. God uses failure to motivate me. “Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways” (Proverbs 20:30 GNT). Often I change when I feel the heat, not when I see the light. If I’m afraid of failure, then I’m going to get stuck! When I fail, God may be trying to get my attention to move me in a new direction.

3. God uses failure to build my character. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character” (Romans 5:3-4 TLB).

Failure has a way of softening my heart. It helps me grow up and be mature. It makes me sensitive to others. It makes me less judgmental and helps me be a little more sympathetic to people around me who are hurting.

Failure doesn’t automatically grow my character. Sometimes it just makes people bitter. Failure only builds my character when I look at it with the right perspective, respond to it correctly, and learn from it.

It's natural to hide or overlook our mistakes. But it is hard to learn from a mistake if I don't acknowledge making it. What good is it if it doesn't teach me something? To learn from an error I need to admit it, analyze it, and make adjustments so that it doesn't happen again. Everybody makes mistakes, but only fools repeat them. I don't always need to have to be right to feel good about myself. I need to be willing to reconsider, to admit when I'm wrong and to change my plans when needed. The first step toward forgiveness is confession. 

As I start out my coaching practice and meet with people one-on-one, there are times after our sessions where I can see where I may have failed to show value or to help them. It’s from the mistakes that I can re-define how I interact with them, and provide value to them not only in the session but long term. So I'm learning and educating myself through it. I can use it to motivate myself.