The idea of failure of course isn’t desirable, but it is virtually inevitable. The Proverbs 25;15 proves the point, “Good people might fall again and again, but they always get up. It is the wicked who are defeated by their troubles.” The reality of life is that at some point, perhaps multiple times, we will fail. What we do following failure determines the balance of life.
There are several questions that are helpful to ask; How did I get here? What have I been blind to that led me here? And What can I learn from it?
How did I get here? To get the right answer to this question you have to ask God that same question
and let Him guide you to the correct answer. Most of us can point to several reasons why we find ourselves where we are, but our reasoning is always a product of what we think we know and what we understand based on what we think we know. Quite often, the real reason is hidden from us because we had no objectivity in the situation to begin with. Had we seen it from another perspective, our approach to the issue would have been different.
What have I been blind to that led me here? We are creatures of habit. That we know. However we are often totally unaware of what our personal habits are and how they got started. Our primary habit as humans is the things we do to avoid of anxiety, pain, rejection and abandonment. When faced with a problem, we hate the anxiety we feel being decision-less, or being stuck overwhelms us to the point that we remain decisionless. So rather than pausing for some period of time to ponder an alternative approach (read; being a creative problem solver), we blunder on with what turns out to be a ‘best fit at the time’ solution. The result is never pleasing.
So we have to sit and ask the Lord, “What am I blind to? What habit patterns have I developed that I am totally oblivious to that ultimately resulted in, or contributed to this particular failure? What conclusions did those habit patterns drive me to, or that contributed to my poor decision?” It is often wise to consult a trusted third party who can render an unbiased, objective opinion regarding the whole situation.
What can I learn from it? In the Proverbs 25 verse noted above, we find that “good” people fall again and again, but they continue to get up after repeated failures. The only way to do that is to consider failure as a learning experience, an opportunity to grow in something so that the same mistakes are not made again and again.
A major part of the resilience of these ‘good people’ is they have come to view failure not as devastation, as weakness, or a sign of their personal worth, but as part of the normal discovery process. It’s a positive outlook that is devoid of performance orientation or perfectionism. It’s a view that brings life rather than one that forecasts loss and disappointment, and maintains discouragement. Adopting such a viewpoint can change everything for you.
Lastly, don’t let failure become an excuse for isolation. Withdrawing because you think other people are as appalled by your failure as you are assumes that they are a critical of you, as you are. That’s wrong. The only thing isolation will insure is that you will continue to be held captive to your own way of thinking. Get out, and get another opinion. There is a sound Biblical principle here that is very practical as well, “there is safety in a multitude of counselors.”