Failure can feel like a fate worse than death in the military work place. In this week’s Monday Minute Ashley encourages us to take a more eternal look at it.
Flip Backwards Failure into Forward Focus
by Ashley Saulnier
“Ashley, I expected this report on time since all the other ones have been. Why did you let it fall off?” I started to sputter out an apology, but he continued, “It’s hard for me to be upset, because I never have complaints with your timelines.”
I hated failing to meet the commander’s expectations. And his positive appraisal of my past performance made the failure sting that much more.
With an overload of overzealous personalities wearing the uniform, failing in the military doesn’t seem to be an option. Buzz Aldrin would concur. But what about when it just happens?
What do we do when one day we are moving forward along our perfectionist path and the next the backwards steps of failure trap us?
Is failure actually okay?
When it comes to failure, especially in the Bible, we are in good company. David used a military battle to cover up a murder. The prophet Elijah worked himself to burnout and breakdown. Jonah refused a direct order. Peter denied his Lord three times. Failure is not a goal or something that we aim for, hopefully. Failure can set us backward temporarily, promote self-doubt, confusion, bring severe disappointment, and even disciplinary action in some cases. But how we react to failure, move forward and learn from that failure, should propel us to move forward in our walk with Christ.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
God knows we will fail.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say we will be perfect and without flaw in all we set out to do. It says the opposite, particularly in James when he says we will encounter trials of various kinds. But we can learn to see these times of failure as times that test our faith.
I’ve often asked myself questions that followed failure like my example above. How will God use this failure? Can I use this experience to demonstrate my reliance on God? How can I demonstrate his grace upon me so that others may see his faithfulness in my life?
Later that day, after I completed the task, I thanked God for his faithfulness, prayed for peace, and apologized to my boss for the error. The commander was extremely pleased and I was humbled.
Being humbled is not the worst thing to encounter, especially when you desire to follow Jesus.
What To Do Next Time
It’s wonderful that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22). As a result, we can be assured that although tomorrow is not guaranteed, if we wake to see the day, we are given more time for God to finish his perfect work within us (Philippians 1:6). Let’s not let ourselves get in the way of how God can use our failures, especially when it comes to our growth in Christ. Famous Evangelist Dwight L. Moody declared:
“I have never met a man who has given me as much trouble as myself!”
Dwight L. Moody
Learn from your failure, bring it to God to allow him to transform you and move forward with his peace into your next mission, which ultimately comes from him.
Pause Take time to realize that although failure hurts, nothing is wasted on the Lord. This too will be a part of your testimony. It will help mold you and others that may glean wisdom from your story.
Remember God doesn’t leave us or forsake us even in the midst of failure. He is with us and is waiting to show us how this will be used to further his kingdom and produce fruit in our character.
Submit Bring your failure to God in prayer so that he may show you the next direction to take. Your submission brings him joy so that he, as our good Father, will lead us into our next assignments.
Father, thank you for the opportunity to embrace my failures as challenges. I see your faithfulness and goodness in the midst of my failures because I fall short everyday. And I thank you that by your grace we don’t have to stay in the midst of our failures, but we can bring them all to you and move forward. I pray other women may glean this wisdom from my failures so they may also grow into the beautiful masterpieces you will mold them into, as our Potter. Thank you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.