When You Think of Failure Does Your Heart Skip-A-Beat?
By: Elizabeth L. Creecy
Does your heart skip-a-beat when you think of failing?
Do you get anxious? Does the idea of failure create dread and fear in your being?
Many people, especially those with a Type A personality and who struggle with perfectionism, do not like to fail. They dislike failure so much that it can cause them to fear failure. Not only do they fear failure, but they also fear discomfort. They often find themselves in a vicious cycle, where they move from fearing failure to fearing the hurt inside them.
The fear of failure is a byproduct of the Spirit of Fear, and it is a greater struggle for those who struggle with perfectionism. When you struggle with perfectionistic thinking, you can easily find yourself with all-or-nothing thinking, following society’s rigid “shoulds,” fear of discomfort, unrealistic expectations, and fear of failure.
Therefore, when someone fears failure, there is a strong and deep-rooted belief that failure means they are not worth loving, that they suck, are stupid, and can never be wrong. Notice how the devil is tricking them! Essentially, these individuals believe love is earned based on one’s actions instead of freely given. And, if they mess up, that’s it for them. They are out, believing no one will accept them or love them for not being perfect.
Does this sound familiar?
However, what if you started to see failure as your friend as opposed to your foe? What if you flipped your beliefs about failure on the devil himself and saw failure as feedback or even God intervening?
What if you saw failure and success working together versus against one another?
Failure is not the opposite of success but part of success.
There is not a person on this planet who hasn’t experienced failure of some sort, but perhaps the ultimate failure is quitting.
What if you saw failure as feedback as opposed to a final destination that has grave consequences?
It is pretty funny how we see failure in the light of trepidation. The idea of failing causes some to freeze, flee, or fight. But, if you see failure as a tool that helps you recalibrate to try a new approach, you open up so many more possibilities.
Oh, and that motivation that is driven by fear as opposed to encouraged by faith disappears too! Besides, the fear of failure usually is a belief that we will never get o our goal, that we messed up, and now we are forever doomed!
Um... Hello, we serve a loving and POWERFUL Father who can redeem everything!
For instance, if you are playing darts and notice your throw is not getting you the numbers you want – you typically start to change how you throw the dart. You’re hoping the tweak in your throws gets you a more desirable result. Based on your results, you use that feedback to recalibrate and change your tactic. Failure offers powerful insight into information through feedback, which allows you to continue attempting to get the desired results while applying the newfound insights.
But, what if that failure was a success if you saw it from a higher point of view? Meaning, what if what you see as failure God sees as successful and all part of His grander plan – what would that do for you?
Besides, God knew you were going to do what you did. You don’t think He planned for it and included mercy, grace, and redemption in His will for your life?
I think, sometimes, what we see as failure, God sees as success. We have to remember that God’s ways are the opposite of the world, and sometimes His ways do not make complete sense at first.
Think about it. When Jesus was on the cross, how many people do you think believed they were “winning” and succeeding in destroying Jesus’ ministry? The devil thought he had won too. I think it’s fair to say for many, seeing Jesus on the cross didn’t represent Jesus as winning but failing or losing. However, as the world saw it, that failure was God’s most remarkable success for humanity!
Again, maybe what you qualify as a “failure” or “messing” up is actually exactly where God wants you to be!
As I thought about this insight, it made me realize that humans will sometimes see themselves as “failing” when in reality, God sees us as winning.
Perhaps we only conclude a failure to be a failure because we didn’t receive the results we expected and hoped to see. That’s EXACTLY what unfilled expectations create in us – frustration, disappointment, and even anger!
Yet, I wonder – did you ask God if that is what He wanted you to do? Did you ask if God saw that as a success or failure?
Likewise, I wonder how many times I have succeeded in my eyes, but God sees it as a failure. Have you ever wondered this?
As believers and followers in Christ, our definitions of success and failure are different than the world. Joshua 1:8 declares how we can be successful in God’s eye.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:9).
Psalm 1: 2 also states how God sees success:
But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.
The world defines success as having lots of money in the bank, looking a certain way, having many friends, popularity, exotic travel, a large following, and being publicly known for something. Please know NONE of that will survive the purging process Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 3:13:
But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value.
However, God defines success as staying committed to following Jesus, keeping one’s mind focused on what the Bible says, and obeying God.
Maybe that failure in your eyes is a win for God!
Next time you find yourself wanting to kick yourself or complain because you “failed,” ask God what His opinion is. If it’s in God’s will for you, you can do it (Philippians 4:13). Now make sure you wait on His time because it’s perfect! Maybe that failure is what is needed to put you precisely in the right place. If that’s the case, that’s a win!
Be mindful of what you see as success or failure. Stay aware of how you define success and failure. Remember to acknowledge and ask the Father what you should always do.
Psalm 37:23-24 NLT
The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.
Prayer:Father God, thank You for loving me. Thank You for giving Your begotten Son for my life. Father, help me to discern what is failure and success in Your eyes. Please remind me that when I fail to hit my worldly goal, I can trust You and that Your ways and plans are perfect. Father, I want to see success as you see success. Please help me to acknowledge You in everything I do. Guide my steps and give me the wisdom and discernment to know when to move or change directions. When I feel I have failed, Father, remind me of the truth and help me give myself the same grace You give me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.