Everyone fails at some time! I know this to be true but it doesn’t make me feel any better when it happens. No one wants to mess up and there are a myriad of reasons. It’s painful, evokes feelings of disappointment, may have negative effects, is very difficult to see anything positive and recovery takes a lot of effort. No one sets out to fail but it happens.
One major example is recorded in Joshua chapter 7 in the Old Testament. Joshua was a great leader of Israel and if you read his story, you will discover a massive failure that affected a whole lot of people in an adverse way. In his attempt to besiege a city called ‘Ai’, in order to capture more territory he failed in the attempt. He miscalculated some important details and didn’t have a clear understanding of the big picture.
His example should warn all of us. Whether it be an individual, a corporate business or the leadership of a nation, failure waits around the corner for those do not thoroughly investigate all the facts and clearly see the ‘big picture’ before making major decision of the magnitude that Joshua made.
When failure happens, however, I’ve learned two responses that can help greatly. Joshua did both and was able to move beyond his failure. Some people move on in life after a defeat but you must move beyond the collapse to recover totally.
1. Seek to discover the root problem so you can correct it. There’s always a reason behind any failure. What are some of the reasons we fail?
A life of secrecy and sin surely lead the list but other things contribute as well. When you put in minimum effort and expect maximum results failure is nearby. If you act upon bad advice the results can be devastating. Make sure you know to whom you are listening. The ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ syndrome is responsible for many failures and defeat happens frequently if we don’t make a commitment and demonstrate perseverance. Whatever the root reason is, it’s worth finding. It may be obscure, hazy or concealed but you can’t fix something unless you know where it’s broken?
2. Don’t react to failure but respond.
Emotions are wonderful but if you allow them to lead your decision making process in the midst of failure you will react improperly rather than respond correctly.
Here’s a few ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ when you fail.
Don’t be quick to look outside before you have taken a long look inside. This will lead to shifting the responsibility onto someone else. Others may have contributed to your debacle but that doesn’t make them responsible for what you do. Do accept full responsibility for your own life and the decisions you make.
Don’t ignore the facts and fail to recognize the ‘Elephant’ in the room. Do focus fully on the problem and seek an honest evaluation.
Don’t quit – take another swing. Someone said, “Failure doesn’t have to be final.”
Don’t blame God but pray to Him. The first thing Joshua did when failure happened was to call out to the One who could help. Some people will look down on you when failure happens and possibly reject you, but Jesus will ALWAYS work with you if you come to Him. There’s something good that can come out of failure if we call on God.