The Gifts of Failure
Lately, I’ve been watching “fail” videos with one of my kids. She’s captivated by these ridiculous home videos where someone does something embarrassing or bites the dust somehow…
I don’t like to fail. In fact, I hate it. The problem is that I’m flawed. I will fail, and so will you (“Thanks for the encouragement, Matt!”). But I’ve learned that failure isn’t the worst thing; in fact, it can provide some unique opportunities.
Failure can bring freedom.
Trying to manage an image of perfection can be exhausting. I know because I have done it. Three of the most freeing words we say are “I was wrong”. When we admit how we’ve messed up to ourselves and to others, we give ourselves permission to be real. Instead of trying to constantly manage people’s perceptions, we can focus on being present as we are – warts and all.
Failure can influence others.
People don’t want to follow someone who never fails. I find that when leaders open up about an area of weakness in their life, I want to move towards relationship with them, not the opposite. People often identify with weakness more than they do with strength. The ironic thing about failing as a leader is this: we are afraid to fail because we feel like it will disqualify us from leading, when in fact, the moments where we have the ability to influence others most can be when we walk through failure.
Failure can draw us to God.
The people that Jesus is most harsh towards (by far) in the Gospels are the Pharisees and religious leaders. Why? They minimized their need for God. How? By presuming that they had it all together. Failure brings us face to face with our limits and our need for God’s grace. Minimize your failure and you minimize an opportunity to meet God in your weakness.
Grateful for a God that loves us in the midst of our failures and redeems them by His grace!