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From Failure Vortex to Victory

Failure is one of the most unpleasant phenomenons to grip our world since Adam and Eve's fall in the Garden of Eden. Whether magnanimous or minute, the feelings of worthlessness, disappointment, grief, pain, and guilt that so often accompany failure can be crippling . . . and damaging to our spiritual mindset.

Failure has the power to distort. It can shrink the grand scope of life and inflate the tiny speck of one mistake, until all we see is the task we couldn't fulfill. Sometimes failure is large—granted—with huge repercussions; other times, though, and perhaps the majority of the time in our comfy first world, we allow small failures to take our minds from thankfulness, and what is truly important.

Yesterday I wrote an exam that I quickly realized it would not exhibit my best work. I ran out of time, couldn't complete the task, couldn't edit, and could barely follow the thread of my own logic. My first reaction post-exam? Despair. Close to tears, I tried to keep perspective, but still felt the temptation to break down and surrender my attitude and mindset to the pull of failure. It's a very real trap, leading to self-pity, excuses, even blame: failure is a vortex that way.

Kind of like this gif.

Look away.

Look away.

But this time, instead of succumbing, I tried a new tactic. I willed myself to seek the blessings in that situation, and to keep my perspective from honing in on one little slip with no Kingdom impact. When I made a deliberate effort to find positives, I discovered a surprising many just waiting for me in the realm of thankfulness. Though I still would have liked to be more effective during the exam, I am now genuinely glad for the learning experience, the advance taste of university, and for the experience of failure to prepare me for post-secondary, where it will really count.

Thanking God for failure is counter-intuitive, and not always achievable immediately. But through this experience God has revealed the importance of choosing thankfulness, choosing not to stray too close to the failure vortex, and choosing to keep a long-term, Kingdom perspective when my mind threatens to blow up my failures disproportionately.

Failure is a part of life, and often God's most effective tool in shaping and teaching us. Today's Thankful Thursday challenge? Find a failure to be thankful for, and the more you dwell on the blessings buried in it, the more it will feel like a victory.

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