Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsThursday 11 Feb 2021Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes
It’s a strange sensation when you have to get reading glasses for the first time. I remember that day, years ago now. But it was amazing to see how out of focus I had become. Things were crystal clear, and I could actually see vibrant colours—it was amazing!
I want to talk about this idea of focus, and what happens when we fail—when we begin to see everything through the lens of that failure. Instead of seeing possibilities, we see a blurry road ahead. It seems impossible to know what to do when you have failed at something. However, we need to regain our focus when we fail. When our failure drops us, our vision can get jarred and out of focus.
Remember the old transparency machines from school? Before the days of projectors and computers, you had to use the transparency machines with transparency paper that you could write on. When you would turn on the machine you had to focus the lens in on the image. Just like the transparency machine had to get into focus so we need to refocus our life when we fall down. We have to see our failure through the right eyes.
Two Ways of Looking At Failure
Many people see their failure as a bad thing. They look at failure as a negative.
Now I am not talking about moral failure—that is something we always want to avoid at all cost. Rather I am talking about failing and missing the mark with life circumstances we face each day. The reality is that we need to fail in order to grow. That may be a hard concept to think about but bear with me for a few minutes.
Childhood behavioural studies have shown us that a child only learns to walk because they have failed to walk over and over. Without the failure of falling, they will never learn how to gain their balance.
Now we could try to avoid their failure and tell a child over and over how the muscle dexterity works; how to move the kneecap in the proper direction. But that won’t make sense to them. A child learns to walk because they are learning how not to walk. After so many lessons on how not to walk, they eventually begin to understand how to walk. It is their failure that causes them to succeed.
We need to get focus on our failure. Failure is not fatal unless we allow it to be. Failure is freeing if we view it the right way. It is our response to failure that determines our ability to succeed. We can be afraid of failure or embrace failure depending on where our focus is.
If we focus on the negative, concerning failure, we will run from failure. However, if we view failure in a positive way, we will learn more from it than we think. It’s all about focus and perspective. When you fail, understand that your outlook must get back into focus. We have to see failure as a tool that can get us to where we need to be. So let your outlook about failure change from a negative to a positive. Get into focus and understand that failure can be the greatest thing that has happened to you.
How To Turn Failure Into Success
The great inventor Charles Kettering suggested that we must learn to fail intelligently. He said,
Once you’ve failed, analyse the problem and find out why, because each failure is one more step leading up to the cathedral of success. The only time you don’t want to fail is the last time you try.
Here are three suggestions for turning failure into success:
- Honestly, face defeat: Never fake success.
- Exploit the failure; don’t waste it: Learn all you can from it; every bitter experience can teach us something.
- Never use failure as an excuse for not trying again.
But here’s something really important: God is just as much in your failure as he is in your success.
In 2 Corinthians the Apostle Paul spoke of failure:
We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 – NET)
I’m sure Paul felt like a failure many times. Paul thought that even though he had many failures along the way when he saw what God was doing in him and through him to help others, he rejoiced in his failures. His failures caused him to fix his perspective on God’s agenda like success could never have. Paul knew that the harder things were for him, the greater glory would come to Christ. People would see that only God can work in a failure.
Don’t despair because you’ve failed. It can be the start of something wonderful and really worthwhile if you surrender your life to Jesus Christ.