09 September 2012

The Courage to Fail


The warrior looked around at the carnage that surrounded him.  The blood and bodies of enemies and friends, burning houses and barns. The stench of burning flesh invaded his nostrils and the black smoke burned his eyes. In his hand was his sword, the blade scarred and broken.  His shield was lying somewhere in the haze of the battlefield. Finding an old wooden crate, he sat down, exhausted, spent from battle. He turned his weary eyes to the home ablaze before him, his home, his eyes filled with tears.

He was a barbarian, a fierce warrior, yet this battle he had lost. His fellow warriors lay either severely wounded or dead on the ground around him. His village had been savagely ransacked by his enemy.  Most every home was in flames or crumpled to the ground. As he closed his eyes to finally rest from the battle, this thought repeated itself in his mind: “I may have lost my home, my friends, and this battle, but I am still a warrior! I will live to fight another day!”

We come to a place within the heart of a barbarian that is rarely discussed, the courage to FAIL.

Have any of you ever experienced failure big or small? Truth is, failure is a big part of every one of our lives. How did you respond to failure? There are really only two choices:

We can experience failure, call “Game over” and let that disappointment haunt us for the rest of our stinking miserable lives.
We can experience failure, call a “do-over” and let that failure motivate us to risk again!

I believe that too many times when we experience failure we tend to get down on ourselves and mope around like a pathetic little puppy. The warrior in the opening story could have done that, but he didn't, he looked ahead to the positive possibilities of tomorrow.

Let me share a truth with you that may free you to be a risk-taking barbarian who is fearless and powerful. YOU WILL FAIL. Not once, not twice, not three times, but over and over and over again. God never, not one time, tells us to never fail.

Failing does NOT make you a failure. If you grasp this truth, it will change the way you live: It turns your thinking from “I am a failure” to simply, “I have failed.” God is looking for some barbarian warriors that are not afraid to FAIL.

Let me be blunt honest with you. I have failed God miserably since I have been saved. There have been times where I can hardly believe what I did. But not once did God say, “We are through buddy! You have crossed the line this time!”

John 21:17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.’”

Peter had denied Jesus three times, he failed miserably, but Jesus did not hold that against him.  As Peter said, “You know I love you” for the third time, Jesus embraced him and whispered, “Follow me…”

We are just like Peter, we may fail, but thanks to the grace of God, we never need to be failures.

If you want to be the barbarian warrior God has called you to be, then you cannot let the fear of failure keep you from risking ‘all’ for God. We must reach deep within and  find and use a determination and willingness to keep risking our all for God over and over again, regardless of the results.

There was a little boy who was determined to be the best hitter the world of baseball had ever seen. Taking a ball and bat into his backyard, he stopped at his chosen spot and announced to himself and to all who could hear, “I am the greatest hitter in all the world!”

He tossed the ball high in the air and swung the bat with a fierce determination and he missed, “Strike one!” he carefully studied his bat because certainly there must be a flaw.

He tossed the ball again, and swung with a mighty swing-whoooosh! “strike two!”

The boy spit on his hands, rubbed them together, and once again declared, “I am the greatest hitter in the world!” He threw the ball into the air, and gave his bat a wicked slash! And missed again a third time.

“Strike three!” the boy muttered. Then suddenly he smiled, “Well, what do you know? I’m the greatest pitcher in the world.”

That is the attitude we need to carry with us when we take on a great risk for God. This is the attitude of a barbarian. Miss the target? Experienced failure? So what, God still chose you to do whatever task you are doing. Our job is to be faithful. Even in failure. God will use the failure to teach you great things or to point you in a new direction.

You go to the store and buy a bag of poop to fertilize your garden. Why? Because the poop has nutrients in it that help plants to grow.

So it is with failure. Failure stinks just like poop and if you sit around and mope in your failure you will stink too. But if you use your failures to grow then your failures will become very valuable to you.

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