What we learn from failure

By Denae Jones – 

Summertime until fall seems to usher in a great deal of milestone moments for many people. You know the ones I’m talking about. We usually have pictures of them in our baby books and family albums. Maybe you’re graduating, or getting married, or starting college. Maybe you’re expecting a baby or moving out of the house for the first time. Maybe this is the year you qualify for Social Security, or get to plan for your retirement. Whatever your milestone may be, it seems to change the course of life overnight and can seem scary at times.
During this time of transition, we usually stumble into a few failures along the way. I’ve never liked the saying, ‘Failure is not an option.’ Given the right circumstance, it can be encouraging, but it implies that one must be perfect, and we’re not. Nobody wants to fail, but let’s get real. We do. All the time. And it angers me when I see people getting shamed for messing up. Go to any sporting event and listen to the voices coming from the bleachers. I saw a parent at a little league game with a shirt that said, ‘Losing is for losers.’ What kind of message is that sending? You’re a loser if you’re not the best? That’s absurd.
Let’s pause to think about the times we have not been victorious. What became of it? Remember those really awkward moments, or those times we made a complete fool of ourselves? They taught us courage. Remember when we got our hearts broken? Or did something we were ashamed of? Or made that really bad decision? That helped us gain wisdom and determination. Remember the times we got picked last, or didn’t make the team? Or thought we deserved to be recognized and got overlooked? That taught us to be humble.
We have gone through many disappointments, and those experiences and lessons are what made us strong enough and brave enough and determined enough to step forward into new milestone moments with excitement instead of fear. With our heads held high instead of hung down in shame. Personal failure does not make us a loser. It makes us strong. It helps us grow.
Michael Jordon lost more games than most NBA players even play, and missed more shots than an average NBA player even takes. Yet, he’s one of the most famous basketball players that have ever lived. It took Thomas Edison 10,000 attempts to invent the light bulb. He is quoted as saying, ‘I have not failed. I have just found 9,999 ways that do not work’.
When we turn our attention away from our past mistakes and onto what our next milestone could be, our failures and mess-ups don’t seem so big after all. God doesn’t care about our past as much as He cares about what we do with our future. Our future starts right now. What are we going to do with it? It doesn’t have to be a milestone moment to make a change. What are we going to learn from our old selves that will help us make our future self a better person? Let’s start today.
Have a blessed week, friends!