Why Failure is Good for you
Failure has been the one of the most faithful and effective teachers I’ve had in all my years of leading and ministry. Nothing humbles and teaches me quite like failure does.
I have come to learn that how I respond to failure will to some measure dictate my ability to walk into the fullness of who God has called me to be. Like Peter in the gospels, I would rather fail trying than succeed at doing nothing. However, when failure comes knocking on my door of ego and pride O it hurts; it hurts badly. Yet, when I embrace it, it has been one of the most powerful and transformative antidotes to my sinful heart. So how has failure played a significant role in my life?
Why is failure good for you?
1. It Humbles You
Humility cannot be taught, it must be experienced. You and I can pray for humility but be cautious in this prayer because God will answer, but He will answer through real-life experiences. Whenever you meet someone who is truly humble, their life is marked by great faith followed by great failures. The humblest person to ever live is recorded in Numbers 12:3, “Now Moses, was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” By the time this is written about Moses, Moses has experienced more failure and rejection in a couple years than most of us will in a lifetime. His own people accused him of being an arrogant-proud-murderer (Ex 2:14), his brother Aaron and sister-in-law Miriam turn against him multiple times (Ex 32:5, Num 12:1-2), and the Israelites complain that Moses is a terrible leader and have led them astray (Ex16:1-5). All of this is what made Moses humble. His failures and shortcomings made him realize that he is nothing apart from the grace and mercy of God. These experiences allowed him to die so that God can live through him.
2. It Makes You More Compassionate
When you fail at something that you hold dear, it strips you of your arrogance and pride. Failure has an ability to soften your heart and realize that you are truly living by the grace of God. Thus, your judgmental attitude and pride towards others are minimized. All of a sudden, people that you used to judge now become people that you emphasize with. You used to judge public speakers, until you started public speaking. You used to judge leaders until you started leading. You used to judge your pastor, until you had to preach. You used to judge your boss until you took his or her position. Your failures allows you to taste humanity again which enables you to show compassion in ways you could not before.
3. It Makes You Hungry Again
Success breeds failure. Whenever we succeed at something one-too many times, we cannot help but find ourselves complacent. Complacency does not happen when someone is desperate, it happens when someone is successful. Failure in areas that you are passionate about awakens a hunger in you that propels you to do things with much more passion than you had before. People do not change when they want to, they change when they have to. That’s what failure does. It reveals things to you that have to change and as a result brings a hunger and passion that otherwise cannot be found.
4. You Taste His Grace Again
O how sweet the grace of God is when we are faced with our shortcomings and failures. We know we are sinners and we know we are failures but when we experience it, it takes what we know in our minds and infuses it into our hearts. When we turn to God in these moments His grace becomes so sweet again. Our failures and shortcomings remind us that we are but sinners in need of the grace and mercy of an almighty God. Apostle Paul says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” ^1 Corinthians 15:10. Like Paul, we must remember that apart from the grace of God we are nothing. It is only because His grace that we have anything to offer at all in the first place.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How has failure allowed you to taste the grace of God?
- How do you see God using failure in your life to mature you?
- Do you care enough to try even if you fail? It is one thing to be passionate about something that comes at no cost; it is something entirely different to be willing to face failure to obtain it.