The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. Lamentations 3:22
When I was in seminary, I had a preaching class that required us to tape our preaching and then have it evaluated by classmates. It was incredibly painful. My sermons were fine for my level of education and experience, so I shouldn’t have been so hard on myself, but it felt like failure rather than part of the growth process.
Popular author, Mark Manson claims, “We can be truly successful only at things we are willing to fail at.” Insecurities keep most of us from reaching our full potential. I am not talking about reaching full economic potential. I am talking about reaching your full Divine-calling potential. God calls us to enormous transformations in our own lives and in the larger society. The path to reaching our full potential isn’t linear. The path is fraught with wrong turns and dead ends. Too many people get frustrated, take the setback personally, and tell themselves that they are not worthy or capable of this dream. Rather than continue, they find a dead end they can live with and settle in.
In settling, we do not give ourselves credit - and worse - we do not give God enough credit. God is powerful and loving enough to work through you and me. We just need to overcome our fear of failure, and learn to see our imperfections as opportunities to learn and grow. When we can learn to risk, fail, succeed and risk again, we are ready to be used at a deeper level by the Holy Spirit.
We don’t try to fail, but when we’ve done our best and something didn’t work, we have the opportunity to learn and try again in a different way. Today, think about the perceived failures in your life, especially the ones that tore at your self-image. How might you have increased your learning and wisdom? Don’t let this reflection hurt your self-image all over again. Realize that you have enough distance now to reflect without too much emotion. As you remember, evaluate and pray. The Holy Spirit will empower you. It will take you to a place beyond failure, giving you wisdom and confidence to reach new heights. That doesn’t sound like failure!