Saturday, July 14, 2012

Facing Failure 101

I just had coffee with a good friend, one of those blessed creatures who had it all - looks, brains, and talents. He told me how his past week had been difficult because he felt that he was last at everything and that was why he threw himself a pity party. He said he had low moments and expressed this to God in prayer.

I had to ask him if he was serious in thinking that he was inferior in any way, because from my vantage point he had no right to complain. At all. But he was genuinely insecure; worse, he wanted to be perfect. He could not live with failure, however insignificant it seemed. He wanted it all.

Who was I to criticize him, when I myself had bouts of insecurity especially the past few weeks when my worth was tested in various ways? In fact I had been feeding off my friends' encouragements just so I could keep going. I had failed to see my own brilliance and awesomeness, as one friend put it. Instead, I focused on my weaknesses (for there were many).

Even we Christians do not find it easy to face failure. We may succeed at it some of the time, but there are always areas which cause us to become human, and so we suffer from the pains of rejection and look at ourselves as the sorriest of God's creatures. We pray for the day when we can win that game, or get that award, or succeed at that venture that we think would really make us happy and contented for the rest of our lives. We compare ourselves to our friends and think of how much more blessed they are. Pride and envy are so deeply entrenched in our hearts that it is so hard to live by faith. We are shackled by these fears and feelings.

I do not have a concrete answer to this; nor do I want to put a spiritual band-aid to what my friend and I are suffering from. We obviously both need to work on our faith and to focus on the Lord's strength rather than at our personal weaknesses.

I did try to look for a verse from Scripture that could address the topic of failure. And it led me to this:
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things. (Romans 8:31)
It is a daily struggle to let my hope be bigger than my fears. It is something I want to grow more into this week.

I am comforted by this, one of my most favorite verses:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
I will face this challenge with confidence, hope, assurance, and faith in a God whom I know is for me. He knows me. He has my best interests at heart. He has my future in His hands.

As for my friend, I know he will have better days ahead. He is a saintly man, actually, and this episode is but a part of his journey.

Facing failure or any difficulty becomes a whole lot easier with a good friend who is able to see the best version of me, in a fraction of the way God sees me. And I do the same for my friend. I can see now that God will graciously give my friend and me all the things that we need. We just have to put our faith in that.

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