Just writing the word down
makes me cringe a little…
…makes me wish
I could put it back in the box
and ship it back
to where it came from.
It’s a big, fat ugly word that for most of us, holds so much power, so much more than it deserves. And with it comes tattered packages of disappointment, hurt, pain, frustration, regret, fear, but, yet, we find ourselves letting it take up residency in our lives.
We give out gold stars, throw parties and celebratory dinners for the big moments in life that we deem successful…
But what do we do with the failures??
As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be successful. A burning desire inside of me, I have always wanted to be absolutely amazing at something and watch it flourish into something beautiful. Still to this very day, at times, for better or for worse, it’s part of what drives me to keep chasing my dreams, to be able to touch success as if I were able to hold it in my hands.
As a child I felt like I wasn’t very good at anything. I’d try new things and be awful at them and after awhile the feeling of failing was something I decided I didn’t want to feel that anymore, so I quit trying unfamiliar territory and stuck to what I knew.
As an adult, avoiding new things is a pretty hard task. Being an adult is all about doing new things! It’s the very part of growing up and finding your way. There are a lot of things I didn’t do right the first time, a lot of things that were a flop or a flat out mistake, but through every failure one thing has always held true…
There was always so much beauty that came out of it.
Just a few weeks ago I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed and wanted to throw in the towel. And then this little phrase popped in my mind and I quickly wrote it down so I would remember it for the inevitable tough days to come:
Don’t give up because you think it’s not successful.
God can still use unsuccessful.
What was that God?! You can still use my mess, my mistakes, my failures?! You can make something good out of my disaster??
Romans 5:3-5 reminds me of this very thing.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
God reminds us that our sufferings and our failures are not a waste, but we so quickly forget. As I look back over the years, I realize that if I hadn’t failed at some things, I would have never had the opportunity to watch the successes that grew out of those failures. The hurts, the mistakes, and the closed doors led to so much more success than failure could ever think about!
I’ve showed up to events alone but confident, made plans with complete strangers, gone on first dates countless times after the defeat of the last one, said yes to opportunities I wouldn’t have normally agreed to, shared my heart in moments and places unexpectedly, tried new things time and time again….all because I failed at some things along the way first.
Do I have it all figured out?
Do I still struggle daily with wanting to succeed in everything I do?
Do the failures still hurt and sting even when I know there could be good on the other side of things?
But I’m learning God can still use the unsuccessful parts of my story!
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26
What have you failed at that you can’t let go of? What failure in your life can you see success born out of it? Is there unsuccess in your life that God can use if you let Him? We would love to hear from you in the comments!
You can catch up with April on her blog, “FlavioApril: The Spices of Life” at www.flavioapril.com. Follow her on FB at https://www.facebook.com/aflavio and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/flavioapril/.