My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26
Wesley and Jacob are two of the most amazing people that I know – not bad considering they’re only 11 and 12 years old respectively. Separately, they are two incredibly gifted, creative, and energetic young men. Together they create a dynamic duo that leaves me amazed with their creativity, their comedic timing, and the joyful flair of simply being a boy. On many occasions, I have watched them act out a scene or react to an event in such a way that I was left not only in stitches, but actually wondering why it is I pay for cable TV? (The answer to that question, by the way, is football). They’re not perfect, but I see so many wonderful things at work within them. To each other, they are buddies in the truest sense. To me, they are the embodiment of what boys are supposed to be like as they prepare for their journey into manhood.
One catch phrase that has been often quoted by the boys is the term “epic fail,” or simply “EF” if one wanted to be chic. EF’s are those moments where you just don’t miss the mark, but when you miss so badly that the mark even laughs at you. Perhaps this is best exemplified by my attempts at playing Rock Band – which thankfully have still not been recorded and put onto You Tube. When EF’s come, the boys will hang their heads, shaking them ever so slightly, and commiserate with the fullest measure of compassion they can muster – usually without giggling, but not always.
I am fortunate to have such a wonderful, simple reminder of how to process failure. It’s not because I enjoy dealing with it, nor is it because I feel that I fail any more than anybody else. I am no doubt stricken with the same stress, struggle, and strain that befalls anyone else with a job, a house, a family, and responsibilities. The bottom line truth of it is this – we all experience an epic failure from time to time. But like anything else in life, we are measured not by the circumstances or the consequences. We are ultimately judged by our reaction and our response. No one situation can define you. A grade on a school report card is reflective of not only assignment, but of many over time. But A’s, B’s or even F’s don’t tell the story of a person’s life or potential for success. Many people who failed out of school went on to be wildly successful adults, just as many valedictorians met failure but were unable to overcome it. A romantic dinner is no more indicative of the success of a marriage than any one messy discussion between husband and wife. However, each of these two things will help to build up the marriage so that both husband and wife can benefit for a lifetime of happiness.
Great success and epic failure are two basic tools that God uses to craft us into the people we are meant to be. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.” In doing so, we learn, we grow, and we align ourselves with the perfect will of the Father in our lives. Failure doesn’t define me. I am not a slave to my mistakes. I give and receive forgiveness freely, allowing me to move forward with a clear conscience, a greater focus, and filled with the reassurance that can only be found in the love of God.