Everyone hates to fail. We can have one argument with our spouse, or get one small reprimand from our boss – and BAM! In an instant, we feel like a big fat failure, as if we have failed at everything we’ve ever tried to do instead of just making one small mistake. However, if we can expect to fail on the way to success, we will not be so blindsighted when we mess up. Instead, we will see failing as just another opportunity to learn something new.
Yesterday, I was sharing with my mom about one of my own recent failure. My mom responded “We need to realize we are not a failure, we are just a work in progress”. I knew that minute that I would make that one of my next mantras.
What a great reminder. Our work will never be finished. Even when we are 80 years old, we will still working on making improvements; from how we think, how we act, the impact we make, and how we live. No matter how far we come, as long as we walk this earth in these imperfect human bodies, we will remain a work in progress.
This should not be discouraging. In fact, it should be very encouraging because, if we are continually working on our weak areas, it means we are continually getting stronger and better.
Success Takes Time
This plaque, “Be patient… God isn’t finished with me yet” was on my wall in my bedroom growing up. I think my aunt made it for me when I was 8 or 9 years old. That plaque was always so special to me because I hated making mistakes and always struggled with receiving constructive criticism. The plaque gave me such comfort, reminding me God would continue to help me get better and better.
Even at an early age, I took failure really hard. I HATED letting my parents down. It made me a very defensive child – and even defensive adult. I wanted everyone to know I didn’t mean to mess up or didn’t mean to make someone angry. I wanted people to know my heart was right, but I was simply human – as if we need to explain that to anyone! We are ALL human and we ALL mess up. It’s just a part of life!
Failure Vs Imperfect
Sadly, so many of us put way too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. How stupid is that!? Ecclesiastes 7:20 says we all fail, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins“. So, it shouldn’t be a shocker to us or anyone else. We were warned.
On the other hand, while it’s impossible to be perfect, it’s not a bad thing to try. In fact, it’s suggested we strive for perfection. “Be perfect as your Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Instead of being frustrated for messing up, we should be thrilled we are striving for perfection, working to improve and learning lessons along the way.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
How are we perfected? We are perfected through trials. Trials can be any number of things. It could be as aggravating as not getting along with your spouse or it could be something serious like battling cancer. No matter the trial, those trials we are reminders we are human and less than perfect, as well are a great reminder we are growing through it. No trial, no perfecting. The trial is the tool we need to refine us, grow us and make us stronger.
Give yourself a break. You will fail, but you are not a failure. You are simply a work in progress – progress being the keyword!
He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. – Philippians 1:6
Scripture of the Day:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:2-4
Mantra of the Day:
We need to realize we are not a failure, we are just a work in progress. – Julianne Talley
MORE ON THIS SUBJECT:
Stepping Stones to Success – by John Maxwell