Exceeded My Share of Failure
Over the past three years, negativity has decreased dramatically for me. So have the excuses. This is mostly because I have learned that failure isn’t really a bad thing. Failure helps me grow as a person. I want to really live my dreams, not just imagine what a better life might be like so I have learned that I have to go through failure in order to get to the place where I can live my dreams. I discovered that one of the best ways to get this process started is by embracing rather than running away from my failures.
I have failed a lot in the past three years. I failed a lot before that. I failed as a wife. I failed as a pastor of a church. I couldn’t get anyone to come to the church on a regular basis. I spent many weeks as the only person in attendance. I was fired from several jobs. I am not going into detail about these though, except to say that mostly, I didn’t really do anything wrong either, but I had no one else to blame either.
I remember how I used to feel about myself. I remember a time when I thought that what other people said about me really mattered It really doesn’t. What matters is that I do whatever I do with integrity. I have learned not to be afraid of failure. Failure is better in some ways than success, because it forces me to become stronger. It was not through success, but through failure that I became a stronger person.
Counting Failure as Pure Joy!
The Bible says in James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
When my eldest son was a baby, I was a single mother in the military. I worked in a psychiatric hospital and in my situation I was severely depressed. I felt inadequate as a mother, and I felt guilty for getting myself into such a situation. Therefore, I felt as though I were alone. I remember sitting on one side of my desk listening to one of the patients tell me about her problems and in comparison, mine were far worse! How was it that I was on this side of the desk listening to this girl tell me her problems?
Several months later just before I left the military, a co-worker came to me and told me that she had been watching me. She knew about the problems that I had dealt with over the past several months and she was amazed at how well I coped with my situation. She said that I inspired her. Sometimes the challenges of life inspire others.
As we continue this passage in James 1, Verse 5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” We learn that when we have questions about why things happen, we can ask God to tell us why things happen. Often he will tell us.
Though there are times like the situation I just described shows how things that don’t make sense can inspire others, sometimes our situations inspire us. Things are not always as they seem and it often helps to ask God why things are the way they are. I remember a number of years ago when I worked as a nurse’s aide at a nursing home. I was caring for an old woman who could do nothing for herself. She couldn’t feed herself. She couldn’t communicate in any way. She was incontinent. She couldn’t even turn over in bed on her own. She was doing little more than simply breathing. As I was caring for her, I was wondering about her purpose. Had she outlived it? As I was caring for her and wondering this, the knowledge of her purpose came to me. She was still alive for me. Because she and people like her were in the nursing home, I had a job, but that wasn’t the only reason. Because she was unable to do anything, it taught me compassion, unconditional love. I was given the privilege to care for this woman because it would improve my character.
Let Go of Negative Reaction to Failure
I have learned to stretch myself over the past three years. I learned that “I can’t” has no place in my vocabulary, but I can sometimes say “This isn’t working” and then let go without beating myself up.
Through failure, I learned that I don’t have to be afraid of it. Failure gets me to where I want to be faster than success does because it stretches me beyond my comfort zone. It’s like running until you can’t run any further. It may take a while to recover, but when I do, I can do more than I could before I stretched my abilities.
Failure allows me to stretch my imagination. It helps me look beyond the obvious. It keeps me from becoming bored with life.
Failure is not really a bad thing. It can produce the purest joy. Therefore I am learning to embrace it.
Author Cygnet Brown has published several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga, Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag–and most recently–Book V of the Locket Saga: In the Shadow of the Millpond. She is also working on another nonficiton book: Living Today, The Power of Now.
.For more information about Cygnet Brown and buy her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com