Courageous Failure

There is a portion of my life that could very well be a failure at the moment. I don’t completely know. From a number of outward appearances this would appear to be so and yet I know it will take some years in fact to really render a verdict.

I suspect that by that time it will prove to not be a failure, but at the moment I’m not so sure.

And the question comes to mind, how do we walk in failure? If this particular scenario is in fact failure how do I navigate it? By what do I move forward?

Some years ago at Church there was a young intern and he preached one of his first sermons one Sunday morning. It was the worst sermon I’d ever heard.

I was sitting near the front and as I squirmed under the boredom and wished I had sat at the back, “Why hadn’t I sat at the back?!” I wailed in my spirit (so I could leave of course), the Lord said this to me, “Cyndy, if I asked you to preach and you did as bad a job as this, would you still do what I asked of you?”

I was struck. Of course! It’s not so much the results as the willingness of heart and obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

I learned something that day. I’m remembering it now.

This situation that just might be proven a failure was undertaken with much forethought. It wasn’t gone into lightly and all the potential down-sides were reckoned at the front end. The pieces that were out of my control had been counted as well as all the upsides and potentials and opportunities.

Yet here I am. Some years in and realizing this may have been a big mistake.

From what I can tell I’m about half-way through to any firm sense of conclusion. There is no way back and I cannot force success on this one. Nor can I rush through to a sooner ending.

My gut says it won’t be a failure but it sure feels like one at the moment.

So what do we do when we are in the midst of what might be failure that might be a success that might really turn out to be a failure?

First off, we stay the course. 

Too often we rush around changing our minds and our commitments. And this never accomplished anything.

Part of being bold and courageous is the boldness and courage to fail – big time if one must.

Part of any success is the willingness to walk on the edge of failure.

Part of moving forward is refusing to be bullied by failure.

If fail we must then we will go to it with courage and muster.

Secondly, we hold off our conclusion.

We give it time to really flesh out and prove itself one way or the other.

Holding off conclusion is hard work. It’s the same capacity that doesn’t have to control or fix or make pretty. We don’t rush to micro-manage. We don’t give in to panic.

Here on the edge of failure our holding capacity is grown.

Third, we trust failure to take us forward to success. 

If indeed we are in the midst of failure we can be sure that it is a key ingredient to future successes. There are no lessons out of line.

Every piece today is an investment in tomorrow. Even failure.

Perspective is everything. What looks one way today looks another way tomorrow looks another way ten years from now.

It is possible that what we think are successes today will show to be failures and the failures we think we’re living today will prove to be successes.

The line between failure and success is a fine one indeed.

And living on this line requires courage and humility.

The strength of a bull. And the innocence of a kitten.

I’m gathering the courage to fail.

I’m living courageous failure.


Maybe not…

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