It's Friday again. Time to focus...on failure? That doesn't seem very productive, does it? Stick with me. I think we'll all learn something if we focus on failure for a while and then move on.
That's the key, I think. Moving on. When I got home from the hospital I felt great for a couple of days and then I started to feel worse as I started to worry a little bit about people's reactions to letting my teaching job go.
I felt much less stress because I didn't have the job to worry about anymore, but I also felt a different kind of mild anxiety because I had to admit to myself that I had failed at something. This is not a comfortable feeling for me. I've never liked to fail. Usually when I put my mind to doing something, I get it done and I do it quite well. Teaching was a big commitment and I didn't go into it flippantly. I fully intended to do a good job, be a great teacher, and succeed.
It didn't work out. I did the best I could at the time but finally decided that the job wasn't for me after it led to too much anxiety and depression.
Failing doesn't feel good. I can remember being with a group of people in a store once a long time ago and we were looking at those Magic Eye posters that have a 3D image hidden in the picture. I couldn't see it. Someone else in our group stared at the poster for a few seconds and announced with delight, "Oh, I can see it! That is so cool!" I felt extremely frustrated and upset because I considered myself smarter than this person and I couldn't figure out why she could see it and I couldn't.
I realize how petty that sounds. I know it related to my pride and I still get in trouble with that when I compare myself with others. We can't do that! We have to stop judging others and just focus on the journey we are on as we go through life.
We are all going to fail at times. We will fail in big ways and we will fail in small ways. I think we get stuck emotionally when we focus on those failures and can't move on.
How do we move on? By focusing on Grace. By forgiving ourselves for our failures - big and small. By learning from our failures and determining to do our best in the future.
I was puttering around in my craft area one day and I had a CD playing in the background. I stopped and really listened as one song caught my attention: Daughter of Grace by Twila Paris. The second verse seemed to resonate deeply with me and I had to play the song again to let it soak in:
She spent half her life working hard to be someone you had to admire
Met the expectations and added something of her own
So proud of all that she had done
(Where was the glory?)
So proud of all that she had not done
'Til she knelt beneath a wall that will could never scale
Broken and discovering that she could fail
There she found the end of herself
Heard her own voice crying for help
And she was
Carried in the arms of love and mercy
Breathing in a second wind
Shining with the light of each new morning
Looking into hope again
Unable to take another step
Finally ready to begin
Born for a second time in a brand new place
Daughter of Grace
Grace is there for our failures. We can move on, secure in the knowledge that God loves us unconditionally and we can feel hope and joy and peace as we begin again after failure.
Do you have any failures that are holding you back right now? Do you see how focusing on God's Grace can get you "unstuck" and let you move on with hope?