Marriage is easy. It’s a piece of cake, right? You meet someone, say “I do,” fly to Maui for the next seven days, then spend the rest of your life dancing in the living room together. I’ve watched my friends and now know everything there is to know about marriage. I’m ready to teach a seminar on how to be married.
I’m totally kidding. Though I have learned things I don’t want to do in my marriage, I haven’t a clue what it’s really like. But the subject line did catch your attention, right?
I may not be an expert at being a wife, but I am an expert on failure.
I know a lot about it. Our paths have crossed many times throughout my lifetime and I’m sure we’ll meet again.
Prior to 2009 failure and I were pretty intimate. We never flew to Maui, but we certainly danced in the living room together time and time again. I was always failing at something, especially follow through.
- I wouldn’t follow through with a job because my boss didn’t see things my way
- I would start to write a book and quit, simply because the motivation wasn’t there
- 10 pounds lost would turn into 20 pounds gained, only to fail at losing it again
- I refused to let relationships go deep because I didn’t want people to know me; the real, shameful me that lurked behind a 330 pound frame
That’s just a brief list.
As God shifted my heart, though, in 2010 I followed through for the first time in my life. I completed a 12-month discipleship program, lost 145 lbs., and finished a 5K race, all in the same year. I failed a lot to get there, but I had finally finished something.
Today, I still fail, but it’s a different kind of failure. It’s the kind of failure that causes me to step out of my comfort zone and pursue something bigger than me. I fail at writing a good blog post. I fail at giving someone encouraging words. I fail at eating that salad versus the greasy pizza that calls my name.
But guess what?
I pick myself up and keep going. I write a different blog post. I apologize to my friend and speak life over her. I go for a walk outside and the next meal I’m back on track.
Failure shapes us. It makes us dependent on God. It causes us to try again. It provides us the opportunity for second chances, if we’re willing to take them.
We can’t conquer failure if we don’t follow through. We can’t fail at something mediocre to succeed at something great if we don’t try. It’s up to us, really. Failure shapes us, regardless of how we deal with it.
The question to ask yourself: How do I want failure to shape me?