[The following is from Jeanette Levellie’s “Audience of One” blog at: http://jeanettelevellie.blogspot.com/. I really relate to Ms. Levellie’s sentiments having “mastered” failure so frequently. I mean, I know how to do failure and, over time, God has shown me how He can use my failure for His purposes. The article reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s encouraging words at the beginning of his letter to the Corinthians: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Cor. 1:3-4)]
When I heard her words, I cringed. “I guess I’m afraid to fail. All my life I’ve succeeded at everything I tried, and it scares me to think I might mess up.” I smiled and gave my young friend some trite, reassuring words about how everyone starting college with her was feeling the same way, and that she?d be fine.
What I wanted to say, what I should have said was, “Girl, you need to fail. Succeeding your entire life has ruined you.” Why would I think that?
1. Until we fail, we don’t know what doesn’t work. If I make a cake and forget to put the baking powder in, I end up with a pancake I get to frost. Because of my anguish over this failure, I will never again forget to add baking powder. I can apply this same principle of using painful memories of failures to avoid hurtful relationships, going broke before the next payday, and gaining weight. So, failure teaches us how to live on purpose, and what values to cherish.
2. If we never fail, we have no compassion for others who mess up. How can I help you through a rough time with a family member if my own family has never experienced trouble? How can I empathize with you over rejection letters from editors and agents if I’ve heard only compliments? By our familiarity with failure, we develop gracious hearts to encourage others around us.
3. Finally, failing will enable us to get over our fear of failure. I know it sounds crazy. But it works. If I get on a horse the wrong way, and slide off, I may bump my fanny or my elbow. My fear might have been that I’d break my neck and die. When all I do is bruise my elbow or bum, I’m encouraged that falling off a horse isn’t the end of the world. Surviving a failure helps us grow brave, so we can attempt greater feats.
I certainly don’t want you to fail. And I don’t make it one of my daily goals to fail. I’m just sayin’. A little failure now and then makes us appreciate the victories.