I made a mistake. I could berate myself for it for the rest of my life or I can learn from it. Let me paint the picture for you.
We had parked near the beach and because time was short we decide to just spend a few minutes there. Roy walked down the beach while I rolled up my pants, took off my shoes and went to dip my toes in the ocean.
The water was deep blue. A sailboat could be seen on the horizon. Sea gulls swooped in and out of my view. Three teenage boys and their boogie boards were paddling out to get a wave. Any good Facebooker would take a picture of this moment. I took a picture with my iphone 5.
I should have stopped at one. However, if I step just a little closer I can get a better angle. So I did, then the wave hit my shins. Of course I didn’t see it coming because my focus was on the horizon instead of what was in front of me.
My iphone went flying and I went down bruising my hand and bending my big toe backwards. Not sure how that happened but it did. I scrambled for my phone on hands and knees. It was a do or die situation. It’s what one does when someone or something is in peril.
I rescued it. It had been under a good two minutes. It was still alive but the black bars of death danced across the screen. I turned it off. It never powered up again.
So I made a mistake and it will be 5 days before I am home again. I could beat myself up about it or I could learn from my mistake.
Failure is painful
Failure can be painful. In this case, the big toe on my right foot is bandaged and hurts when I walk on it. Because I’ve had a broken toe before I don’t think it’s broken. It doesn’t hurt as bad as the others I’ve had. But nonetheless I won’t be walking long distances.
Failure is costly
Most of the time water damage is not covered by insurance. And I am not eligible for an upgrade yet. So I figured this mistake would cost me at least $500. That on top of money spent for this trip to Florida, a combination business and vacation, was not something I was counting on.
Failure can feel like a death
My iphone is not a person but it has become an integral part of my life and business. Searching for it in the Gulf of Mexico felt like I was searching for a best friend. When I found it I realized that it would probably be better for me to say it was lost. Insurance would pay for a lost phone. Still there lay my ipohone retrieved but dead.
God cares about you
You may have done something monumentally bigger than throwing your phone in the ocean. God cares about your failure, but He cares more about your pain. He cares about the cost to your well-being and He cares about your emotional feelings of just wanting to give up and throw in the towel.
He will hold you, comfort you, console you and teach you things through your failure that you would never understand any other way.
God teaches us even through failures
When we struggle and fail and get back up again and do it all over again, it builds strength. It’s almost like an exercise program for our emotional, spiritual and physical bodies. We learn things through failure that stay with us for the rest of our lives.
We can be told a million times not to touch the stove because it’s hot. It never means as much as when we touch it and find out what “hot” really means.
Perhaps right now whatever failure you have experienced is teaching you what “hot” is. It’s OK. It’s how we learn.
God redeems failures
The biggest successes I know have been the biggest failures. They are people who have failed big time, forgiven themselves and others and gotten back up again. They have learned another way that doesn’t work.
“I’ve not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work,” said Thomas Edison, the famous inventor. With each failure he learned something new. He learned things like that wire doesn’t go there, maybe it goes here. And then he would try and fail and do it another way.
Plan for failure
I bought insurance for my phone the last time I had a mishap. I remember it was a better plan but I didn’t think it would cover water damage. Perhaps it was because it involved me falling face first in the Gulf of Mexico, but in any case the insurance covered a large part of the replacement cost.
I planned for my failure. I know me well enough to know I could make a mistake again. I am not perfect.
I do the same with my lifestyle eating plan. I plan for failure. I take things with me to tide me through hunger episodes, such as fruit, nuts and great gluten-free, sugar-free protein bars.
It’s when we think we will never ever fail again that we get ourselves in a pickle. It’s Ok to understand we are human.
God understands this. He is right there with us during times of temptation and even when we succumb. He’s there to pick us up and help us get back on the right track, if we want to be put on the right track again.
Many times all we want to do is wallow in our pain, anguish, mistakes and failures. I can’t do anything right. I’m a failure. I’m no good.
God calls you beautiful
And yet God calls you His beloved, His beautiful one, redeemed, set apart, capable of great and marvelous things, able to do greater things that even Jesus Christ.
There must be a way for imperfect people to do these things. It comes only as we admit our weaknesses, failures and imperfections and cling even tighter to Him. It comes as we press in so close to Him we hear and discern and follow His heartbeat.
God shows Himself strong when we admit weakness
Paul felt like a failure at one point in his life. He had a weakness he couldn’t overcome and prayed earnestly about it. God’s answer surprised him.
“My grace is sufficient for you,a for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Cornithians 12:9
His weakness, the thing that made him feel like a failure, brought him closer to God. It made him rely on God even more.
I’ve heard many people tell me they are doing well in every area of their lives except one. Many times, because of my own journey, they tell me it’s this pesky area of food and weight loss.
God longs to help us when we come to Him and admit we need help and then take the help He offers. Instead many times we turn away because of some excuse or another. I’m here to tell you take God’s way and you will have success.
Let your struggle today strengthen you for your success tomorrow.
Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching & Accountability Group is Teresa Shields Parker’s new group on living healthy through a total renovation of body, soul and spirit. Teresa chronicles her journey in the memoir, Sweet Grace, and the practical application workbook, Sweet Grace Study Guide. Right now Sweet Grace for Kindle is on sale for $4.99 for a limited time. Also, get a free chapter of her memoir at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.