As my first post for this blog I thought it necessary and beneficial to lay some groundwork as well as clear the air. I want to make it clear to all our readers that failure is not an option. I think that it’s only honest to let you know that I’m talking about all kinds of failure here. Moral failure, physical failure, spiritual failure, grammatical failure, philosophical failure, etc… etc… etc… In your comments to our posts, in your daily life, and even in your drive through orders at McDonalds - Failure is simply not an option – It’s a requirement.
One of the most liberating statements that I heard during my journey through Bible College was that failure was a requirement. We, as fallen individuals, will fail. There is no way around it and that’s okay. I had spent the majority of my life fighting failure. I spent countless hours working to avoid failing a test, a relationship, a moral conviction, and especially my parents. And I spent countless more hours lost in grief because I had failed at not failing.
Hearing that failure was a requirement and realizing that this concept wasn’t new revelation but that it was the foundation of the gospel was a breath of fresh air. Scripture had been trying to get this through my brain for years. “All fall short of the glory of God”, “There is no one righteous, no not one”. Scripture had told me that I was a failure from the beginning and I had ignored it. Now don’t accuse me of being a Calvinist yet. This post is not my stance on Total Depravity. I had ignored the fact that I was destined to fail but I had also ignored the magical, brilliantly beautiful, gospel truth that failure was okay. That it was covered by Christ’s blood.
This renewed realization of the simple rudiments of the gospel changed my life, ministry, parenting philosophy, and self-esteem. It gave me freedom to fail and then learn from that failure rather than wallowing in self-pity and grief until the shame cycle drove me back to the same failure that had started the whole process. Now, instead of surprised or disappointed by my own failure, I almost get excited because I know God is and will continue to use failure in my life to teach me and mold me into the person he wants me to be. You see we often learn more from our failures than from our successes. As frustrating and counterproductive as that may seem on the surface it’s true.
In the last couple of years I’ve adopted this phrase in my home, in my ministry and even with my peers. Failure is a requirement of life. When students in my ministry fail morally or spiritually, I jump at the opportunity to encourage them and teach them to grow through failure rather than be controlled by it. When friends fail I do everything that I can to be the one that is there to dust them off, pick them up and send them on their way. In the movie “Batman Begins“, Bruce Wayne continually remembers a quote from his childhood that His father had told him; “And why do we fall, Bruce?… So we can learn to pick ourselves up” (I bet when you started reading this you didn’t realize that Batman’s father and I are super close and have the same parenting philosophy.)So… as you continue to read this blog, as I hope you do. And as you continue on your own journey through life, always remember that Failure is never merely an option… It is a requirement.