Our family decided it was time (and they were cheap enough) to join the latest water craze, paddle boarding. On TV they make it looks so easy, peaceful and relaxing. I couldn’t wait to try it. My husband went first. He felt very unsteady and didn’t go very far before he was back to the dock. My oldest son was paddling around, no problem. My youngest son could jump around on the board, no problem. I was thinking, “I got this.” When we first got our kayaks, my husband felt very tippy and unsteady. I was able to hop in the kayak and take off, so I was certain the same would be true for the paddle board. That thought alone should have told me that failure was imminent.
My son held the board as I started to get on it. I felt very wobbly. As I stood on the board, I rocked from side to side and couldn’t seem to get my balance. My son told me to adjust my feet for more stability. As I raised my front foot and I don’t think my toes actually came off the board, I completely lost my balance and was in the water. This entire excursion lasted about 15 seconds from initially standing on the board to being in the water.
Hating the fact that I was shown up by my husband, I went in the house to dry off. I was left with a decision that many of us face when we fail, do I quit or try again? I wanted to do both.
Failure can leave us feeling defeated, humiliated and wanting to hide from the gaze of others. We don’t want others to know we aren’t perfect that we have warts, failures and even demons that haunt our inmost being. They prevent us from rising up and moving forward. We carry them around like a 50 pound bag of rocks on our backs while on Facebook posting the happy pictures to maintain the look of perfection. That is not what God wants for us. We don’t need to carry that burden and hide in shame from failure. God offers a way to be free and that freedom allows us to rise up.
Then I let it all out; I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.” Suddenly the pressure was gone— my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. (Psalm 32:5 MSG).
This failure conversation with God didn’t take me long to resolve to get back on the board and try again. However, there have been plenty of other moments that have taken some work for the pressure to be gone. At times, I have had to share the failure with others and apologize for the guilt to dissolve. In taking it to God, my next steps become clear and my sin always disappears. Always. It’s God’s promise to us.
I did get back on the board and was successful although I still need much practice. Failure is not meant to define us. It’s meant to build us, strengthen us, and teach us, and non of us get through life without experiencing it. I vow to embrace it, and keep rising up.
What are your failure experiences? How have you learned to get up and keep going? How has God brought you freedom? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.