When I was young, it seemed as though everything I did had success written all over it: explosive youth ministries reaching thousands, outstanding teams of men and women who could tackle and conquer impossible situations, incredible and rich relationships with awesome family and the best of friends, a busy traveling schedule that took me all across the U.S. and several countries. Don't get me wrong, I have always faced many challenges and hardships in both life and ministry (who hasn't?), however, the 'success' I experienced far overshadowed the difficulties and even made the pain of trials very worthwhile.
In 2006 our family of 6 moved to NYC with a group of friends to attempt our most daring adventure up to that time; planting a church in the East Village of Manhattan while overseeing a large inner city youth ministry located in Brooklyn (where we lived). I was not prepared for what I would soon discover about myself; I was a very broken and fractured man. We tend to think that issues ignored will eventually go away, but it is not true. Issues left unattended on the inside compound and it is only a matter of time before they demand a payday.
One dictionary defines 'failure' as: the action or state of not functioning; lack of success; an unsuccessful person. Other words for failure are: floundering, collapse, defeat, disaster, catastrophe, flop, loser, underachiever, dead loss, inadequacy, crash, bankruptcy, washout.
Even writing those words above cause me to shudder. I use to identify with many of them. But not anymore. It is a true statement that 'failure is not final', or rather, it does not have to be. Today I am beginning a new blog series that I believe can help so many people who are struggling with feelings or thoughts of failure. Perhaps you are experiencing actual failure right now. It can truly be one of the most crippling things in life. I'm going to use an acronym for failure, and hopefully finish over the next couple of weeks. I'll address key issues that can absolutely lead to failure. Before hitting on each point, I feel it is important I offer encouragement from the outset of this series;
Some of the greatest people used by God in the Bible also had some of the most horrible failures in their lives:
Abraham thought he was too old; Moses stuttered and questioned God's judgment in picking him, and he killed a man; David committed adultery and killed a man; Jacob was a liar; Jeremiah was depressed & suicidal; Noah got drunk; Peter denied 3 times that he knew Jesus and then backslid.
So if you feel you are a failure or that you are failing miserably right now, you are definitely not alone. If you know the Word, you know that these men overcame their failures. It is a lie that you will be forever marked by your failures. You can overcome failure, you can start over no matter where you are at in life, and you can experience 'success' again!
In our next post we will look at failure in a new way.