Failure. That’s my greatest fear. And yet it’s something I embrace every day. I fail far more than I succeed. If I said any different, I would be both a liar and a hypocrite. During one of the first conferences I ever spoke at, I know that I came off as an arrogant, self-reliant woman who thought that she had it all together. Since that time, God has had me on a continual roller coaster ride culminating in a snowballing of humility and a resolve that any success I enjoy, either in parenting or in personal endeavors, is a direct result of God alone. My prayers have changed from, “Lord, help me to…” to “Lord, please give me the courage and the boldness to do your will. Please pour out your Spirit on me and on all those that I love because we can do nothing apart from you.”
There is something very freeing about letting go of perfectionism, giving yourself permission to be a weak, imperfect vessel, but a vessel none the less – willing to be used by God, willing to love others, willing to make a difference. The only way to avoid failure is to attempt nothing and in that you are assuming failure before you even begin. I am convinced that procrastination is one of the tools Satan uses to keep us from God’s best. Any self-professed Christian would never say “no” to God, so we say “later.” Oh sure, we’re not that up- front with it. We use phrases like, “I’m waiting for the right time.” And there is definitely something to be said for faithfully praying and pursing God’s will before we act, but there are plenty of times when we should simply begin with what we know God has called us to do, give ourselves permission to fail, and take comfort in the fact that theGod of the universe truly does not need our “help.” He wants our obedience. How many times in the Bible does it say “If you love me, you will obey my commands?” How many times to do we replace “yes, Lord” with “later, Lord?”
One of the most dangerous things that those who foster and adopt can do is compare our families with the neighbors down the block. I am so guilty of this. We may be climbing the same mountain, but we, as did our children, began this climb in the mine shaft 500 ft. below ground. Sometimes simply reaching the point where we can see daylight is a great challenge. Sometimes a failure is simply a premature success. We measure growth before it is ready to be birthed and we fail to see progress because we are still trapped in the darkness below the Earth. I have no Ten Steps to Success or Recipes for Greatness. I can only say what I have learned - rely on God, stay in His presence and forgive yourself daily. For in learning to fail, we climb one step higher up that mountain and someday all the skinned knees we endured along the way will be nothing more than battle scars on the road to victory.