I’m an overachiever. 

A perfectionist.

I HATE to fail. In fact, I avoid it at all costs. 

I think many of us do, but the reality of life is that we all come up short. There are times when we come up short in our work. We come up short in relationships and we let people down who we dearly love and care about. We come up short as parents; only every single day. We come up short EVERYWHERE! If you’re wired like me, the reality of failure can be devastating and has the ability crush you.

But, as I look at some of the stories that I love, they aren’t about people who nail the dismount every time  In fact, nobody likes that story because we know that it’s not true! The musical/movie Les Miserables is one of the greatest stories ever told. You’re probably familiar with it. If not, the protagonist of the story, Jean Valjean, is a man with a shady past. When he got out of jail he committed another crime and was deserving of more jail time… but he was shown grace. It’s not one of the best stories because Valjean is successful and perfect; he’s one of the best protagonists because his life is shaped by grace (not success)! I’m convicted that I often try to protect the success of my story instead of resting in the grace of God.

The question IS NOT whether or not we will fail (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8-10), the question is how we will respond when we do. Will our shortcomings crush us, or will they becoming build blocks for us? That’s the difference between a great story and a tragedy. A tragedy is shaped by a protagonist who gets caught under the rubble of his/her failings; a beautiful story (and a beautiful life) is shaped by people who build on their shortcomings. 

So, how do we know if we are being crushed by our failings or if we are building on them? Here’s a few road makers I’m looking for in my own life: 

  1. Are my failings labels that I wear or lessons that I learn? If they are labels and they start to define us, we will never build on them, learn from them, or use them for our good and God’s glory. But, if they are lessons for us, they can start work for our benefit. The hard part is that in order for that to happen, we need to spend time in honest reflection – letting God do his healing work in our hearts. 
  2. Do my shortcomings humble me or humiliate me? There’s a difference. When I am humbled, I see myself in light if Gods glorious perfection and am found in His grace towards me. Being humbled can be a beautiful thing. Being humiliated leaves me alone in failure, helpless, and hopeless. Where do you usually gravitate towards?
  3. Do I allow my failure to redirect me or does it redefine me? The reality is that God uses failure to shape our journey. Sometimes it’s his way if showing us the end of one season of life and its an invitation to join him in another endeavor. However, when disappointment redefines me, it leaves me crippled and wondering who I am. 

So, are you the type of person who builds on the ruble or who gets caught under it?

Today, press into the grace and Jesus; allow Him to be sufficient for you and trust that He is enough. When we do that, we will be the type of people who build on our failures by resting in His grace and allowing it to shape our lives. The result will be beautiful grace-drenched lives that glorify our great God!