I think that the fear of failure is one of the biggies for men. I mean, even the word, fail-ure slides downhill, like your heading for something bad. We don’t read the instructions, we won’t ask for directions, we don’t dare ask for help to fix the garbage disposal. What is it about men and failure? Why is it that failure is so hard and admitting it can be even harder. For me, failure reminds me of the words my Dad used to tell me in frustration when he and I would be working on something together, “Never mind, I’ll do it.” It is like you don’t even get a second chance to succeed. You may have heard similar words from your father or someone significant in your life. Even as I am writing I am feeling that nervousness in the pit of my stomach reminding me that “you better do it right or he isn’t even going to give you the chance to do it at all.”
I think that is what makes most of us guys susceptible to the pride of “don’t ask don’t tell.” No, no I don’t mean it like that, I mean “I won’t ask for help then I won’t have to tell them that I don’t really know.” Have you ever just wanted to throw your hands up and acknowledge that you really don’t know something or that you don’t know how to do something. It’s okay, try it… Now doesn’t that feel better? Just because you acknowledge that you don’t know or that you failed at something does not mean that your a failure. I think however, that failure sends an all too familiar message about who we are and how we want others to perceive us. See in todays dog eat dog, rat race world, we aren’t supposed to fail or need help; we’re just supposed to know.
I admit I have a hard time with failure. I don’t want to fail, I want to succeed. I want you to think that I am good at what I do and look at me with awe and wonder. I want my wife to always think great things about me and remind me of how great I am in meeting her every need. However, many times I fail miserably and then I feel like that little boy running into the house, hurt and angry because my dad would not give me a second chance. I feel that way towards God sometimes… maybe you do to. I have failed again God, what do I do now. What? You want to give me a second chance? Third? Fourth? Fifth?
That is when I discovered the word “re-parenting”. God is a great parent and He loves to re-parent us. Oh, our earthly dads were just living out of what they were taught – “Do it right the first time, or don’t do it at all.” Wow, I can’t live by that – I don’t know how. But God says that when I am weak He is strong (2 Cor 12:10); He says come to me all of you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28) …even when you fail come to me and I will give you rest (that’s my paraphrase). I think that is exactly what He says, not to mention the other great things that He “sings” over me (Zeph 3:17), like He loves me (John 3:16), He honors my trying, He rescues me when I make a mess of things (2 Sam 22:20).
God is disappointed when I fail because He sees the potential that He has placed in me. When I mess up, hide my mistakes, fall into sin, say the wrong thing or make the wrong move, I believe that God is grieved because He offers me the right thing. It is just that sometimes I do the “don’t ask don’t tell” thing with Him as well. I don’t go to Him, I don’t ask Him for what is right or what will get me through, what instructions He has for me. I again, don’t want to acknowledge that I don’t know or that hey, again Lord, I’ve failed. He is a God that never holds our failures against us, but asks us to strive to the next success. He won’t let me stay in my failure, and He doesn’t want me to fail again, but He will help me to find Him and find His way which never leads to failure. So the next time you fail remember that God is the God of second chances, and thirds, and fourths…
Failing, trying, and succeeding,