Saturday, March 21, 2009

The F word.


Look at that word. Think on it for a minute. Take it in.

What kind of thoughts and emotions does that word bring?

Here, I'll write it again: FAILURE.

How do you feel when you read that? Angry? Scared? Nervous? Worried? Do you try not to even think about that? Why do you think you feel the way you do when you think of failure? What is is that scares us so much, that makes us so nervous and apprehensive about failure?

I have a theory about it. I think it's pride. I think we're so concerned about embarrassing ourselves or making a fool of ourselves, that we're afraid to fail. What if I try something, and I'm confident that it will succeed, and then I fail? What will others think of me? What will I think of myself?

Those are reasonable concerns, aren't they? I mean, what if you take a big risk, where maybe lots of money is involved, or a reputation might be on the line, or where the fate of many people is involved? Surely we should be concerned about all that right?

I would say, probably not.

See I'm in a place in my life right now with this Del Sol Church Northeast campus, where I've got it all on the line. Among other things, I'm dealing with over $150,000 of resources, several staff member's immediate futures, their family's immediate futures, and soon I'll have dozens of volunteers who I will be responsible for. Additionally, Del Sol Church and Pastor Walter have an incredible reputation locally and even statewide of being willing to do whatever it takes for the Gospel, and so that reputation of Del Sol Church as a whole also rests on my shoulders.

So you can see, if there's anyone who should be worried about failing and losing money and permanently ruining a reputation and hurting many people, it should be me. But yet, I'm not really worried about failure. It's not that I'm unaware of the weight of it all; I am fully aware of what's at stake, but I'm just not afraid of what might happen if I fail. Actually, I've embraced failure as a good thing.

"A good thing!?" you say.

Yeah - a good thing. You see, first of all, the fear of failure is a pride issue. It is essentially an issue of how I will look to everyone else - and that's pride at its fullest. And since I'm not my own, but God's - then it's not really about me, is it? So when it comes to failure, there's really no reason to be afraid of how I might look.

But secondly, failure is an opportunity - an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to better yourself. Risk and failure, and learning and growth, go hand in hand with each other. Failure is also an opportunity for the Church to shine, and to show what God's grace truly is.

So what do I think of when I see the word "failure"? I think positively, and I think of how great God is and how I can trust Him fully, and I'm not afraid at all. If I fail, I can shake it off and step up and learn from it. If I fail, that doesn't make me a failure.

Either way, in my mind, I win if I succeed and I win if I fail. And much more than me winning is that succeed or fail - God wins.

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