7 Useful Things About Failure

Last night I had the great privilege of being in the same room with a group of missionaries who were being celebrated for completing their required training with SIM (Serving In Mission) down in Charlotte, North Carolina.  I happened to be in town for a meeting with an SIM leader and was invited to stay for the dinner and sing a few songs.  

I was honored to be with these people who are really and truly sacrificing comfort and home, and so much more, to live what they profess to believe--to bring tangible love and hope to people around the world.  So I was sharing a handful of songs, when I reached a very important and climactic point in a new song...and COMPLETELY blanked on the lyrics.  (If you were there and are reading this, I again thank you sincerely for your gracious support during that painful moment!).  I'm smiling as I write this, but a couple years ago I would have literally wanted to go into the backyard, dig a hole and live out my years in seclusion.  :)

I didn't want to just skip over this particular lyric, bc it was the most important part of the song!  So I took a couple of minutes--which felt like years--and gathered the words back into my head, and sang them.  

Here are 5 useful things about failure:

1.  If you have failed, you have also lived.  As I've written before--from my Dad's mouth--the only people who never miss the ball are the ones who never take a swing.  EVERYONE who has experienced success has also experienced failure, embarrassment, or rejection.  That should comfort you!  I want to be someone who takes a swing, don't you?

2.  No matter how bad it is--my humiliation--life will go on!  I will recover, others will recover.  How quickly you recover is somewhat up to you.  But eventually, time will soften the sting.  At the very least, it will matter less.

3.  The embarrassment we feel when we are seen messing up reminds us that we have more of an ego than we thought.  :)  If you think you have no pride left in your heart, trip up onto the stage sometime and find out!  

4.  Failure connects us.  It's strange, but in some way, my relationship with people seems to be strengthened when I am obviously flawed--if I manage to handle it with some grace.  

5.  Failure humbles us.  Lest we be tempted to believe we are pretty remarkable and people are pretty lucky to have us...a little humble pie here and there is a good thing, if not so tasty.

6.  You learn what to do and what NOT to do.  Every time I make a mistake in a chord progression, I make a mental note to myself and am less likely to repeat that mistake.  Better still, I learn how to move on gracefully and not run out of the room crying!  

7.  You'll have one more funny story to tell your kids.  

I appreciate the graciousness of most music listeners I've encountered...thank you in advance for the encouragement you will undoubtedly offer the next time I drop a lyric!