Written by Vic Stanley Jr.
Recently a friend made the following statement to me: “You never really fail at anything, do you.” It wasn’t really a question, but rather her perception of me. This is not the first time someone near to me has made a remark along those same lines. I had to stop and ask myself, “do I present myself as someone who does not experience failure? Do I hide or downplay my mistakes and defeats?” It seems that my tendency to not dwell too much on my failures and to make light of them communicates that I really do not fail or that my failures are insignificant and of no consequence. Trust me, this is far from the truth.
I’m a risk taker, a go getter. This leads me to kind of throw things at the wall and see what sticks. I am definitely a details-oriented person and have the gift of administration, but I move quick and work out kinks as I go. Sometimes this causes me to miss things or to reach too far. This weakness has been the source of some of LOJ’s growing pains over the last nine months.
We failed to budget enough for our trip to Nepal in January… oops. A gracious donor covered for us. I attempted to rush a two-person team into a trip to Peru. It overwhelmed them and we had to cancel last minute… my bad. I underestimated the difficulty in acquiring coffee from Nepal, but had already told the farmers, processors, and missionaries that we could do it with ease and send the profits back… damaged my reputation and LOJ’s a little bit with that one. I led the planning of a trip to Kenya, recruited a team, connected with the partner foundation and started having funds raised. One problem… I never spoke with anyone in Kenya… how did I miss that one? Dr. G tells me that I’m a careful person that thinks things through before I act, but he says that when I do fail, I fail spectacularly.
Some years ago, my uncle told me that the issue is not falling down, it is staying down. He said that you gotta get back up. I fail, badly. However, for every failure we’ve had a dozen successes. You learn from the failures and move on, where needed you make things right, you turn your weaknesses into strengths. When you fall off the bike and scrape your knee, you simply put some alcohol on it, bandage it, and hop back on the bike because you got places to go and life does not slow down for you to sulk in your failures. Christ took all of our shortcomings and failures to the cross. So, in the here and now we seek His wisdom and guidance as we plot our course. When we fail, He picks us up and sets us right. In time we become more and more like Him. The proverb rings true, “A man plans his path, but the Lord directs his steps.”