Moving Past Failure
Dealing with failure is hard. When I fall short, I tend to replay the event over and over in my mind. I berate myself for messing up. After dwelling on my error for a while, I lose desire to try again. Sound familiar?
Most of the time we make the same mistake more than once. When that happens it’s easy to enter into a “failure, replay, lose hope” cycle that’s really hard to break. This is especially true in cases of addiction, abuse, financial mismanagement, etc.
The psalmist David had some big failures in his life, and he wrote about them pretty often. Here’s one example, there are many others:
My guilt overwhelms me—it is a burden too heavy to bear.
– Psalm 38:4 (NLT)
As David found out, failures are too heavy to carry for long. Left unattended, they weigh us down to the point of collapse. Frustrated, we give up completely.
Once we enter the cycle it can seem impossible to escape, but freedom can be found. The key is found in a saying of Jesus we often quote, but are too busy to apply:
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
– Matthew 19:26 (NIV)
To successfully move beyond your failure you’ve to keep two things in mind. The first is…
Every person has failed. That’s right…everyone. It’s a universal problem. The Bible puts it this way:
… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
– Romans 3:23 (NIV)
Every one of us has done…or are doing…things we’re not proud of. We’ve failed and have reaped…or are reaping…the consequences. If that’s not bad enough, Satan takes advantage of our turmoil by popping up and whispering “No one has ever messed up as badly as you! You’ll never recover!”
Don’t fall for it! He’s a liar! Lots of people have messed up as much or more than you! Take a look around. You do life with plenty of people who’ve blown it. In fact, the Bible is full of accounts of how people in all walks of life failed.
This brings us to the second thing you need to remember:
God’s grace is bigger than your failures. He helped people like Moses, David, Peter and Paul move beyond their failure…and he will help you!
God’s grace is limitless, but we usually underestimate how complete it is. John wrote this about Jesus:
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
– John 1:16 (ESV)
John was talking about the work Jesus accomplished. Because his life, death, and resurrection, we have unlimited grace. That means we don’t have to be defined by what we’ve done.
Do you remember the Etch-A-Sketch? It was one of my favorite toys as a kid. I loved how I could shake it and make mistakes disappear. It felt so good to start over with a clean slate! That’s what God’s grace is like. It allows us to shake off the past and start fresh!
God has allowed me to start over time and again in my life. He will do that for you, too! Bring your failure to him.
He won’t be shocked by what you tell him because he already knows. He’s eagerly waiting for you to bring your failures to him. When you do, you’ll find grace is big enough to move all your mistakes behind you, and powerful enough to guide you into his good future.
Does having a clean start sound good? Take God up on his offer today! His gift is too great to refuse, and you only punish yourself if you do!
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