It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
None of us set out striving to fail. We don’t take on any task wishing to fall flat.
But sometimes, even the best of intentions fizzle out.
How do you view failure?
Is it as simple as missing the mark?
Not meeting a self-imposed goal or expectation?
Not living up to the ideals (or opinions) of others?
Is it when everything goes in a painfully opposite direction of what you desired…shattered dreams, broken promises?
Or is failure an opportunity to learn and grow?
Re-start, re-evaluate, stand back and look through a fresh lens?
Can hindsight deliver a view that foresight could not?
Is it a chance to pause and ponder whether the course you charted was the one God intended you to be on?
Does the Author of second chances want to re-write your story?
Honestly, I tend to swing towards the first list. But God is teaching me to lean towards the second–to lean into grace. He is helping me to see that it is not failure when I have sought Him wholeheartedly and dared greatly.
God is helping me to see that a bump in the road is not the end of the world, but simply a gracious detour to get me back on track. Perhaps it is Him rescuing me from peril up ahead, or saving me the hurt of anchoring my heart where He would rather I not. Maybe my steps aren’t in line with His path and He wants to set me straight.
“Failure is success in progress.” Albert Einstein
My success is not measured by the court of popular opinion, but instead the ability to stay the course and keep my eyes fixed on His grand scheme. The opportunity to exercise unwavering trust and believe that He has gone before me, both in the obstacles and the triumphs. He will use both the cheers of victory and the blows of defeat to mold my character and reinforce my dependence on Him.
Get in the arena, invest in the work, hone your craft, be brave, triumph victoriously and if (or more likely, when) failure sweeps you off your feet, rest easy, for you have dared greatly.
**This post is a part of Five Minute Friday – a free write challenge – five minutes, one word. For more information and to join this community of writers, visit katemotaung.com