Turning Failure Into Success – Steps 21-25
This week in our Wisdom Note, we finish our exploration of the 25 steps needed to turn failure into success. As mentioned in previous weeks, obstacles and failures, if handled wisely, can become our stepping stones for a successful life trek.
While we try to plan and set the course of our lives, we have to realize that our trek of life will have its twists and turns that we cannot plan for. This is one reason we need to embrace each new day fully and live abundantly in all that we do.
We can and should plant and water the seeds, but ultimately, it is God who determines when that seed will sprout and how bountiful the harvest will be. This is such a difficult lesson to learn for most of us but one that is so valuable. With these lessons, we will inevitably run into failures along the path of life, whether those are caused by us or someone/something else. For this reason, we have invested the past few weeks looking at how we can bring beauty from ashes and success through failure. So let’s examine the final five failure scenarios 21-25.
Failures teach us to let go of the past. We must accept that there’s nothing we can do to change the past. You did the best you could. When you’re facing your failures, know that you were as good, loving, and effective as you could have been. That you did the best that you could based on the information you had at that time. If you were to go back, you couldn’t do anything differently because that’s who you were and that’s what you knew then. It’s done. Let go of your past. Forgive yourself for your mistakes.
That brings to my mind a paragraph from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. In Phillipians 3:12-14 we read, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” “We run from failure…we run to success…but what really matters is not what we’re running from but where we are running to!”
Stepping Stone #21 – Let go of the past.
Don’t feed the fire that burns you. We need to be very careful what we allow to roam within our minds. Most of our thoughts of failure only exist in our head and are merely ideas. It may not seem like that, but that is how it is. If you believe that you can’t or shouldn’t do something because it may lead to failure, then that’s a thought in your mind. If you believe you are better than others, that’s a thought. If you believe you are no good, that’s a thought.
Our thoughts are linked together and constructed from other thoughts that we’ve learned and allowed to grow in our minds. These thoughts can be good or bad, but if you are feeding the thoughts of failure in your mind, then that fire that rages within you will consume you. We need to analyze our thoughts, choose the ones that are good and helpful, and discard the rest.
As we have mentioned before, in Scripture the word “heart” and “mind” can be used interchangeably. Think of that as we read Luke 6:45, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good mind, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil mind. What you say flows from what is in your mind.”
Stepping Stone #22 – Don’t feed a failure mindset.
Failure is never an option. If you want to achieve a goal in life, then you have to be assured that you are fully prepared and have resolve to guarantee that failure will never be a permanent option for you and those you impact. If you remember back or have read about the Apollo 13 mission back to earth when it was damaged, you likely remember this quote. NASA controller Jerry C. Bostick said these now famous words, “Failure is not an option,” and that phrase has been etched into our collective memory ever since.
Stepping Stone #23 – Failure is not an option.
You always have a choice. If you can’t physically change something, you can always change the way you think about it. You can sit in the dark, or you can find your inner light and discover powerful pieces of yourself you never knew existed. You can view a crisis as an invitation to learn something new, viewing the shake-up in your outer world as an enlightening opportunity to wake-up your inner world. You must choose to, “Keep moving forward.”
Stepping Stone #24 – Failure provides choices.
You can control your own destiny. Notwithstanding the role that God plays in our lives, He also permits a great deal of freedom for us to make the choices that shape our destiny. In order to make choices that may change your destiny, you must first know yourself and what you are creating moment by moment. What you do in the present moment brings you closer to shaping your destiny. Make the choice and move forward. Choices are the hinges of our destiny. When adversity strikes (and it will), it’s not what happens that will determine our destiny. It’s how we react to what happens. You can choose failure, or you can choose success. Ultimately it is your decision. “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved,” Jennings Bryan.
Stepping Stone #25 – Failure teaches us to choose our destiny of success.
We continue this with our practical lesson from the Bible about Gideon. It is a very intriguing story of hardships and failure for the nation of Israel by the hands of the Midianites. If you have never done so, I would encourage you to read the entire story that is found in Judges 6 and 7.
The nation of Israel had failed God by setting up alters and places of worship to false gods. So God sent an angel to Gideon who told him that he would be assigned the responsibility to rescue the nation of Israel.
At first, Gideon faltered or failed to trust God’s plan. First, Gideon destroyed some alters to false god Baal and was nearly killed by his family members. His father Joash stepped in and reasoned with the crowd to let Baal defend himself. From that point Gideon started to be viewed as a leader. So, let’s pick up the story in Judges 6:33-40 where we see that Gideon still had his doubts, “Soon afterward the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east formed an alliance against Israel and crossed the Jordan, camping in the valley of Jezreel. Then the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon with power. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him. He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, summoning their warriors, and all of them responded.
Then Gideon said to God, ‘If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.’ And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water.
Then Gideon said to God, ‘Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.’ So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.”
We see that Gideon still struggled, doubted, and failed to move forward. In spite of that, he persevered, was victorious and had great success. In next week’s Wisdom Notes we will continue with our story of Gideon as we explore the first six of twelve trails of courage.