Adam broke the silence of our family dinner with a bang, “So what is something you failed at today? And what did you learn from it?”
Gulp. And gulp again to swallow my food.
I studied his eyes to see if he was serious. He was.
Silence hung in the air as the four of us contemplated his words, not really appreciating having to think about the areas in which we failed today.
In our Facebook, perfectionist, everyone gets a trophy culture, we generally frown on sharing our failures because it is neither a trophy or worthy of shares. We feel ashamed when we fail, which evokes in us the need to cover the evidence, not display it.
Yet failure is crucial if we want to grow and mature as people – as Believers in Jesus Christ. If we didn’t fail, we wouldn’t need Jesus, for we could handle it all by our self.
Honestly I wish I could do life all by myself, and there is where the great internal battle begins.
Will I do this thing by myself, in my own strength, in my own wisdom and knowledge OR will I do it in Christ’s wisdom, strength and knowledge?
When we come to a hard task, maybe it’s cooking dinner, we think we should know how to do it. We should just know. The chefs on the Cooking Network make it look so easy! Ladies with their flawless hair and make up, the spotless, white kitchen glimmering in the sun’s rays while they effortlessly whisk together all the ready assembled ingredients and pull ready prepared casseroles out of the oven to show you the end result, which is perfect and delicious every time.
Have you ever heard a cook on national TV exclaim “EWWW that tastes awful!” Of course not!
Yet that’s what happens in real life and because we don’t think the professional chefs fail we think we are a failure when our dinner burns and as a result, we quit trying.
My daughter and I were making lemon squares one day and I started telling her all the cooking mistakes I made early in our marriage. She acted so surprised that I made some of the same mistakes she makes in the kitchen. I remember trying to figure out how to chop an onion, use the garlic press and brown ground beef. The utensils felt awkward in my hand, the meat wouldn’t cook, I thought one clove of garlic was the entire bulb, and I burned hamburger meat on the outside yet managed to keep it screaming red on the inside.
One of my favorite stories was when I made my first homemade pizza. Someone had bought me a pampered chef stoneware pizza pan and told me how wonderful it cooked the crust. So I carefully laid out my crust on the pan, topped it with pepperoni and cheese and slid it in the oven. I set the timer, our stomachs growling.
Fifteen minutes later I jump up to retrieve our dinner from the oven and OOooo it smells good. I set the pan gently on the counter, grabbed my pizza cutter, ready to cut and lay it on the plates when, oh my goodness…what is wrong…why can’t I lift the crust off the stoneware? Try as I may, I couldn’t get the pizza off the pan. By this time, Adam came in the kitchen and we realized – I cooked the pizza on the wrong side of the stoneware – the rough and ridgy side! And I mean that crust cooked right into the pores of the stone ware. Let’s just say we enjoyed cheese and pepperoni for dinner that night.
And I remember feeling like a failure! Why can’t I cook? Why did I not look at both sides? Why am I so stupid?
Uhhh, maybe because I’ve never done this before!
Failure is a mindset. Just because you fail at something doesn’t mean you are a failure. We don’t live in a perfect world and we won’t do things perfectly. Thankfully, in the middle of what we perceive as failure, God steps in. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. He promises to cause things to work together for the good of those who love Him. And He does that through our perceived failures.
Habakkuk 3: 17-18 says,
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Wow. If I could rewrite in my own words, it might say something like this –
Though the baby came out by c-section and didn’t want to nurse,
Though the business failed and we couldn’t pay the bills,
Though my house is a mess and the kids keep bickering,
Though He strips it all away,
Yet, I will rejoice in the LORD.
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
For to whom else do I turn?
So, what have you failed at today and what have you learned from it?
On one hand I wish I had life together and everything figured out. A clean house with a place for everything and everything in its place. But then I think, what fun would that be? It’s in life’s messes I watch my Creator make a masterpiece. He takes my spilled paint, torn fabric and frayed strings of life and weaves in His Redemption and Love and makes it something beautiful. His creativity inspires me to be creative. So watch your step! And thanks for joining me on this messy, creative adventure of life.