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Learning From Our Failures

March 7, 2017

Learning From Our Failures

By Shana Schutte

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

A few years ago when I was forty-six, I strapped on skis for the first time. And, last week I skied for the fourth time. Although I have improved, I still fell—a lot. I fell when I was getting off the ski lift. I fell when I was standing in the ski lift line and almost got pinned under the chair lift. (I know. It’s funny to me now, too.) I fell multiple times while I was attempting to ski on a new part of the mountain that was steeper than I was used to.

After we got home on our last day on the slopes, I was a little discouraged. My goal was not to fall down on the more difficult runs and I blew it. But then I had a revelation: I totally killed it. “This almost-fifty year old woman rocked it,” I thought. I got my journal and scribbled out three reasons to celebrate.

1. I tried. And, I not only did I try, but I challenged myself. My grandmother would say that failure is only when you don’t try—and no one gets anything they try perfect the first, second, or third time. Falling down is a part of everything in life. It’s how you learn. And hey, I tried something that lots of people over forty would never attempt!

2. I improved. I have only been on skis for a total of 20 hours and each time I have gotten a little better. When I first started just standing was a challenge. Now I’m zipping along without a worry on some runs that were previously difficult.

3. When I fell down, I got up. I didn’t pitch a fit. I just kept going.

After I finished my list, I opened my Bible and read Philippians 3:12. Something jumped off the page I hadn’t ever noticed before: Paul admitted that he wasn’t perfect. Meaning, he was still falling down. But he didn’t stop trying. He kept pressing on toward the goal.

“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death, so that I may somehow attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been perfected, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. . .”

It seems that the lessons I learned on the slopes apply to everything in life and all that God has called us to. Perfection is not possible, but persistence pays off. And for all those times that we fall down in our God-given responsibilities, in our relationships, spiritual lives, in our quiet time, in loving and forgiveness, and we feel like failures, we get back up and keep going, knowing that God is taking us from glory to glory and each day we are becoming a little more like Him. Keep pressing on. Get back up.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

Prayer: Lord, help me to remember that in this life perfection is not possible, but persistence is. You will sustain me and help me to keep getting back up when I fall. I love you. Amen.

Application: Pray today and thank God for His grace that helps you keep going even though you aren’t perfect, and for His tender patience as you become more like Him.

Related Readings: Revelation 3:21; 2 Peter 1:3; James 1:12