When I was learning to ride a bicycle, I became well-acquainted with two of the many trees we had in our backyard. I would be pedaling along fine, but on at least two occasions, a tree jumped in front of me. In a moment of panic, I forgot that I could turn away and avoid the tree all together…or better yet, I could use the brakes. On the two occasions that I ran into the trees, my parents told me to get up and try again—even if I thought I was hurt (I did not bleed or break anything). I would get up and get back on the bike. Eventually, I did learn how to ride the bike and I enjoyed it.
As I have thought about this story over the last few days, I have been reminded that failure is okay. Pleasant? No. Okay? Yes. Truth is, failure is a part of life and it requires each person to respond to it. Often you cannot choose to fail (it often just happens), but you can choose how you will respond to failure.
For me, I choose to redefine the win. I ask: What’s the victory in this? Let us use a math test I took in high school (math and science were not my strong suits). In my junior and senior math classes, I had a series of exams and quizzes that were less than favorable. I was ready to give up and just let it be whatever it might have been. However, instead of focusing on the apparent failures, I began to look at the good. I may have only gotten 2 out of 20 right on an exam, but I did not get them all wrong. So I took my victory.
The encouragement was enough to get me through the two years of math (and I somehow passed). Redefining the win is vital. Failure does not mean that the game is over. In fact, the game is only over when you choose to not get back up. Unfortunately, many are told that failure is bad and should be avoided at all costs. But the truth is God works even in the midst of our failures to reveal himself to us, and to prepare us. He also reminds us that he is the God of redemption.
Friend, don’t shy away from the tree (Don’t go looking for the tree either. But when the tree is there, don’t shy away from it). Remember, failure can be a wonderful time of growth. So, get back up. Brush the dirt off. And get back on the bike. You are not done yet. Take the lesson you learned from the failure and press on. Eventually, you’ll get it right.
On the Journey & Rooting For You,