I fell last year. I don’t mean that I tripped, but more that I failed. It wasn’t a moral or ethical failure, but it was a failure. Let me explain.
This time last year I was in the best shape that I have been in for a long time. I was running regularly and working out. I looked better (not much, but better), and I felt a lot better. The fitness goals that I had set for myself were in grasp and I was very much looking forward to reaching them, but then came failure.
I spent a few days, with the help of some friends and family, redoing some of the flooring in my house. By the time we finished I had the worst back ache that I have ever had. I hobbled around for weeks while my back slowly healed. By the time the pain was gone my motivation for running had gone with it. I ran and worked out from time to time, but never really got back on track the way I should have.
Tonight as I ran I thought about how I have gotten off track, the work it will take to get back to where I want to be, and where I could be right now if I had disciplined myself to run like I should have over the last twelve months. The reality is that I have fallen, and I have two choices. I can either stay down, or get back up. I choose to get up.
Here is what I have learned about failure.
Failure is only final if you give up.
In order to move forward I have to let go of the past. I can learn from it, but I can’t live in it or let it cause me to fear the future.
If I want to enjoy any measure of success I have to know where I’m going. The destination lies in clear, attainable goals.
Staying in the game will require celebrating small victories. It’s hard to stay on track, but recognizing milestones can help keep us going on the hard days.
I will fail again, which means I will have another opportunity to learn. We fear failure much more than we should. Success often comes at the end of a long line of failures. Each one is an opportunity to learn and grow.
That’s what I’ve been learning these last few years. The lessons have deepened my faith and helped me to rely on God for guidance and direction each time I recover from a fall. I have also learned to appreciate His grace and mercy all the more because each failure reminds me of the cost my greatest failures had for His Son.
What about you? What have you learned from your failures?