Knitting Failure with Forgiveness

shame whispers in your ear
to hide, to disappear
when failure manifests your fear
watch, your dreams will tear
the rip, ripping
from whole to hole
scars and shards
the trip, tripping
when failing means falling
and humiliation is calling
because blame will speak your name
and point to every one of your mistakes
as though you are the mistake

b u t
what if we fail
to change
a n d
what if
we can train our brains
to be resilient
when we fail
a n d
what if
we see failure as a flame:
the fire behind youthat drives you
to keep moving forward
with a newfound force

s e e
sometimes we fail  to learn
othertimes we learn to fail
but failure is not a label
nor a record of progress
failure is a skill
failure is education

when we focus on performance
we are governed by fear of failure
we neglect cause for effect
choosing to see an end
b u t
when we focus on process
we see the opportunity
to cultivate a culture of learning
w h e r e
we can reframe failures
as signposts of growth
not roadblocks to success

the fear of failure
can keep you in bondage
to perfection

the fear of failure
can keep you in hiding
to cover over your pain
you weakness
your mistakes

the fear of failure
can guilt-trip you
into feeling less than
into believing the lie
you are not enough

failure can be a fear that shapes how we see
but failing is not an identity
you are not a failure
because you experience failure
you are not a success
because you experience success
our definitions of success and failure
are misleading
and deceiving
they lead us to frame our stories
around our doing
not our being
we start seeing ourselves as a product of our experiences
instead of people of purpose

did you know that our brains chemically reward us
when we come up with explanations for emotional pain?
in struggle, we try sense-making
we tell ourselves stories that aren’t true
anaesthetising ourselves to pain
in doing so,
we unconsciously allow lies to enter our stories
and false assurance to frame our thinking
we author our actions according to belief
this is the neuroscience of emotional pain
to rewire our brains
to believe that failure is ok
and it is
but we can’t fuel sources of shame
we need the courage to share openly
when we struggle
when we fail
we need to tell the whole story
to not skip over or down play
we all fall
we all fail
but how many will say?
vulnerability paves the way
the courage to call out shame

in Rising Strong, Brene Brown explores falling (failure) as necessary before rising
 if we want to rise strong
we need to admit our weakness, our falling
and Brown goes further to speak to the physics of vulnerability
“if we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall”

there is something else:
we need to be kind to ourselves
to recognise our falls
so we can rise strong.

how often do we self-condemn
when we fail
because it wounds our egos
but feel better
when our friend falls
because we judge their failure
and it esteems our egos
to feel like a success in comparison

neither extreme is healthy
neither extreme is forgiving
to ourselves, or others

so this is key:
we need to learn to knit out failures with forgiveness
to forgive ourselves when we fail
knowing we have received forgiveness and reconciliation
in Christ
and to forgive others when they fail us
knowing we are a fellowship of the forgiven
fallen, but forgiven
fallen, but free

if we feel that we have failed God:
we can remember that
even if we fail
His grace prevails

“In him we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”
Ephesians 1:7

“For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity.”
Proverbs 24:16

“The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.”
Psalm 145:14

so to finish, let me say:
failure is not an ending
but we can rewrite them as brave endings
into stories with new beginnings
for each and every day
the Lord’s mercies are new
and each and every day
you may succeed
but you may fail too

Below are some many links for further research on “f a i l u r e”
(a topic chosen by a follower for one of my instagram creative exercises)

  1.  Everyone Fails. Here’s How to Pick Yourself Back Up, The New York Times
  2. The Other F word: How to make the most of failure, The Fast Company
  3. How the space program created a culture of learning from failure, The Fast Company
  4. Transcending Failure (youtube) & Rising Strong (novel), Brene Brown

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