As believers we are described as ‘more than conquerors’, so God certainly wants us to recover from failure of any kind. Dr Bill Price shares practical steps you can walk in the victory God intends for your life.
“Failure is only feedback!” This is what I heard a professor say once and it stuck. What if it is? What if we are possibly making too much of failure? What if we are being driven and manipulated by leaders who want to feel better about themselves by making others operate by means of focussing on sin management, fear and guilt? What if God’s love is actually about connection and that we should live fully and freely with no fear?
The real question we need to ask ourselves is not about responsibility and personal accountability, but rather to whom and when we should be responsible. Ultimately we are accountable to God through Christ and we forget that reality at our own peril. We are receivers of His great investment in us and we are to live because we love Him and are always loved by Him.
When we fail and falter we must realise that we are objects of His love and that He smiles on us no matter what. In the greater scheme of things (a short line of about 70 to 100 years on an eternal line) when we fail (or call it sin) it is never the end of us!
Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ, not even failure itself! So when people fail it must be the internal faith that brings resilience into the picture, allowing us to get up and walk again! “Down but never out,” someone once said.
When we observe how and why we fail, we come to realise failure is never random but rather designed. The process is always the same: first there is the internal slippage, then followed by deeds which are driven by inner screams that have never been healed.
An excercise to help you recover from failure
- Get a piece paper and grab hold of the pain.
- Think of two people that you know who have failed and write down their names.
- Next to each name, identify four things that this person did not pay attention to, resulting in failure.
Do you notice a trend or a pattern emerging?
- Identify a time in your own life where you failed. Write down four things that you did not pay attention to that resulted in your failure.
- Compare these criteria with the two other examples and see if you notice any trends.
- Read through the next eight step. These are common thought patterns most people experience in prior to and during personal failure. Rate (1) how often and (2) how intense you experienced these in your life.
Sometimes we believe our inner debates more than truth or reality, and this can cause us to limit ourselves as we recover from failure or even avoiding it completely.
Recover from failure one step at a time.
1 Lift the lid on self limitation.
Nothing protects you from disappointment more than what you believe you cannot do. Our inner debate can be summarised by this question – Why should I even attempt to exercise self-control or create a new habit when I already know I’m going to fail? Why should I bother? Just let yourself go, not expecting too much you won’t feel so bad when you don’t get it!
2 Stop the personal distractions
Life is tough enough and getting involved with reality is hard work. One way in which we continue to distract ourselves is to focus on instant enjoyment without having to invest in energy in creating solutions, investing in people and living life to the full.
3 Refrain from living a drive life
Looking at the life of Christ we find that He was never driven! Rather, He was magnetised and drawn into the future because of the joy that was set before Him. Our future should create joy and hope; joy and hope must not be chased in order to get a future. Many people are driven yet when they have accomplished much still experience the silent screams. Striving simply keeps us chasing after the things that seem to be just out of reach: business success, recognition, and the sense of pleasing God. This will lead to a ruined life. We must do things smarter.
4 Quit manipulating others
If anything, this will ruin your life keeping you busy with conflict and always wanting to win. You believe you’re always right and constantly have to prove it! Not getting your way will cause you to play the shaming, sulking, angry, passive-aggressive games that manipulate people to eventually ask for forgiveness.
5 Don’t rely on yourself
Rugged individualism and being a “I can do” person creates a stilted life. This debate says that if I ask for help I am weak and driven by pride. It leads to us putting on a show, living behind masks. Some people call this faith, but really it is relying on self-sufficiency.
6 Move out of survival mode
“I am a survivor”. This thinking will ruin your personal identity. This thinking will cause you not to learn from experience since everything is about survival. However, we are not survivors and we are not victims, but we are experiencers!
7 Release yourself from perfectionism
You don’t always have to get it right. Many people call this a commitment to excellence, but perfection is actually a flaw and is woven in pride. This is the driving force for many in their relationship with God; they think by making right choices God will bless and wrong choices simply make for a hard life. This type of thinking combines doing wrong things with being a failure.
8 Stop thinking that nobody understands you
Refrain from saying things like, “If only people understood me… I wish they would Stop having such huge expectations of me… I’m trying my best given the circumstances.” This thinking ignores advice and turns it into criticism, creating a lonely and self protected life.
Once you have rated each of these eight internal thought processes, ask yourself:
- What if instead of only coping I could finally deal with failure?
- What would life be like if I were no longer driven by these eight self seeking and self-defeating thoughts?
- What if God loves me enough to help me work through these things and move forward towards living a God pleasing life?
- What if I stop trying and start doing, learning and changing?
For more encouraging articles, coaching exercises etc to help you recover from failure, visit Dr Bill Price’s blog, Lead, Live, Love.