As much of an oxymoron as this title might sound, I believe it is possible.
After the year we have had so far, I am sure I am not the only one feeling like I should just slap a big “F” in red letters on it and hope for a better grade next year! However, in that kind of thinking I am selling myself very short and also being short-sighted in all that I have actually learned in this extremely difficult time.
In fact, one of the things I have learned a lot about this year is called “re-framing.” This is when you change the way you think about an experience or even something as simple as an undesirable task. For instance, I could get really down about all the events we have missed this year that my family would have normally gone to. But re-framing would remind me of all of the opportunities we had at home doing family activities that we ordinarily would have been too busy to enjoy.
But back to the sense of failure that keeps trying to creep in. Just like re-framing is a mindset, failure and success, most of the time, live in our thoughts about ourselves and the attitude we have about those thoughts. If I view myself as a “failure,” or this entire year as a “failure,” I automatically discount anything good. Never mind that my kids have loved having me around more. Forget the fact that I have overhauled and cleaned out almost every square inch of my home. Completely overlook the extra time I have had in the evenings to read to my little ones and talk and listen to my teenagers.
I believe the reason we in our country have struggled so mightily with the restrictions that we have encountered, is due in part to this overwhelming drive for success. I find in my own life that I don’t even have a clear idea of what the success I am pushing for even looks like! We just push ourselves so hard that we don’t even have time to ask ourselves that question.
So recently, God began to teach me about successful failure. He had me camp out in Psalm 23 in the Bible, re-reading it every morning. This beautiful Psalm is all about Him being our shepherd. The part about the shepherd making the sheep lie down in green pastures resonated with me. I am very much like the somewhat dumb sheep that can’t even take a break by themselves, but have to be made to lie down. God engineered circumstances in my world to the point that I finally threw my hands up in the air and sat down and rested in my Heavenly Father’s loving arms. Which, of course, is exactly where He wants all of us to dwell. My successful failure right now looks like giving everything in my life to Jesus and trusting Him to lead me the next minute, the next hour, and on, trusting that even if I don’t accomplish the things that I thought were important that it is okay. He is teaching me that the only success there is in this life is to know Him and have a relationship with Him. All of the rest will some day fall by the wayside.
So the next time the thought comes into your mind that you have failed, check in with God. He can re-frame your thinking quickly and remind you that if you are right with Him and pursuing Him with all that you are that you are a great success! Also, remember that nothing is wasted with God and even things that we view as failures, He will use in His ultimate success story.
“And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28