I hate failing. Seriously, I hate failure. There is a competitive streak inside of me that can turn ugly real quick. I’m the person who won’t play a game with you unless I feel like I have a reasonable chance at winning. If I know I won’t win, I won’t play.
Failure Is Apart Of Life
However, failure is part of life. We all lose and fail at something and it happens more often than we would like. The year is winding down for me, so I am in the process of evaluating all the conferences I’ve attended this year. Then I came across one earlier in the year I was hoping I would never see again. It was an Acts 29 event which I really believed was going to be one of my best events of all time. I was confident in my ability to communicate, I knew the A29 crowd really well (I was apart of a church plant that was A29 and currently attend an A29 church). Then it happened. I got up on stage, with hundreds of eyes staring at me. I nailed my introduction and as I was getting ready to jump into Logos Bible Software to do a Bible study with everyone, the projector and TV screen went blank. The technology failed on me. I did my best to recover while looking frantically for the Audio/Video team for help. They got on the stage and did there best to recover the system but it wasn’t working. I got nervous and lost my train of thought. Finally, I decided that we would punt on the presentation and do it later when the technology was working. Well, about 2 hours later a massive storm was heading our way and out of safety, the majority (about 90%) of the people left early to make it back home.
There I was, in an almost empty conference center, and I had missed my chance. It was absolute failure.
Some of you can can relate. You have experienced failure in your personal or professional life. You fail to accomplish the goal you had your eyes on. Ultimately, like me, you feel defeated.
So How Do You Recover From Failure?
We have to recover from failure. We can’t live in that place of defeat because life goes on and there is so much to accomplish. Even more important, our failures don’t define us. Rather, they provide the opportunity for developing our areas of weakness. While there are multiple ways to approach the recovery process, here’s how I dealt with my failure.
Remind Myself Of Who I Am
I needed to remind myself that I am not defined by what I do, rather Christ defines me. I find my identity as a son of God (Gal 4:6), and as I remind myself of this truth minor set backs wont devastate me. Spending time in God’s Word and in prayer is so important to set my mind straight. There are devastating implications when we neglect our true identity. We can quickly find ourselves slaves to the law and longing for recognition and value as a result of what we accomplish rather than who we are in Christ.
Be Honest About The Condition Of My Heart
We need to be ok with being vulnerable to the right people. In my moment of failure, I turned to my wife and a few select friends. What was amazing is that my friends and wife pointed me to the first point, reaffirming the truth that my worth is not defined by my actions but by my identity in Christ. They were also helpful in asking some great questions to identify areas of growth and cause me to consider and think about my own development. However, they have really earned that place in my life. I don’t open this up to everyone.
Do Something Fun
Sometimes the best remedy is ordering a pizza and watching football. At a certain point it is no longer helpful to stress out or relive the moment of failure. Do yourself a favor and have fun. I have friends that literally will go to a movie by themselves. They don’t have to worry about other people, they can just find an empty corner and just enjoy a movie. Have fun, recharge, and get back out there.
Finally, don’t quit. Learn what you can from the experience, implement change, and move on.