Have you ever blundered or failed? Have you fallen flat on your face? Performed at your lowest capacity but striving to do your best? Have you failed at something you're naturally good at? In front of those expecting something great from you. No, just me? Some of you? All of you?
It sucks. Because not only do you get to replay the epic stink fest in your head over and over again, but you also get to feel the shame and embarrassment of being a total bomb.
Man, these are the hard day's friends. Those days you have to decide to keep going anyway. Those days you talk yourself off the cliff of quitting and back down to the world you’re called to influence. Those manure filled failures are filled with some pretty rich nutrients if we can get past our gag reflex. But the alternative to not filtering out the good is a chest full of anxiety and a neck full of stress. Am I preaching to anyone right now, or is it still just me?
I know these are challenging mountains to climb. The hill of starting over. The alps of failed attempts. The summit of embarrassment. Plummeted to the valley of despair. The meadow of humiliation. The plains of pain. Too much? I’m just trying to nail down the misery of failing at something you’re called to do, ordinarily good at, and love with a passion.
I wonder if this is how Joshua felt with his first significant loss after all those wins. And the sin that caused the loss wasn’t even his sin; it was another’s. Maybe it’s how Abraham felt when he and Lot had to go their separate ways. Lot brought trouble, and Abraham brought Lot. So, who’s fault was it? But perhaps the one who struggled with this feeling like he bombed was John the Baptist. Invincible when addressing royal sin and bonus: the cousin and baptizer of the Son of God. Now here he was, sitting in a jail cell second-guessing all his life’s choices. It looked like he utterly missed it. The All-Powerful One that he put his stock in allowed his arrest after preparing the way for him. After he ate bugs and wore camel hair. Now, here he sat, listing to the sharpening of swords and hearing the singing and dancing of his enemy laughing at his downfall. In a world view, he bit the dust. His lucky streak was over. His time of favor came to an end. But did it? John, in his gutted, defeated state, needed to know: was my life a waste? Did I miss it? Was I a fool in the eyes of man and God?
But before he lost his head, Jesus healed his heart and set his thoughts straight. Read Luke 7:22-28 Sitting in a jail cell or free on a hillside, the fruit of what John preached is still the same, looking like a success or failure, he faithfully pointed to the truth. There have been plenty of times I sat in my prison, wondering, am I making a difference? Did my poor performance imprison me? Did it disappoint others? Listen, friends, falling, failing, or stinking it up royally in the pursuit of following Christ can still change lives. Sure, we will disappoint others. They will roll their eyes. Gossip, trash talk, and possibly snicker at our failures. Keep pressing. Stay the course regardless of running into walls or even total wipeout. And keep in mind that Paul was not known for being a powerful speaker, but he tore up the pages as a writer. Joan of Arc wavered toward the end of her life but recovered her faith before she was executed. Peter is a pretty good example of someone who bounced back. We have the DNA of overcoming. We are woven with the fibers of a more than a conquering, thunder from the grave, bones into army’s, feeble ones into heroes, life after death, grace after failures King of Kings. So why not Allow Him into your mess and see what He can do with it?