Let's Talk About My Most Epic Failure Ever
I bombed my first driver's test. And, no, before you say, "Oh, I failed, too!" believe me when I say that mine was probably worse. In fact, I'm almost 100% sure. It's okay, I've accepted it . . . mostly.
Failure was not something I was overly accustomed to, and I don't say that with any kind of arrogance or conceit whatsoever! Academically speaking, I just always worked hard and saw good results, and generally speaking, I don't spend much free time doing things I'm not okayish at. Which is comfy, yes, but doesn't equip one for the epic crash-and-burn (not quite literally) that was my first road test.
Were there tears? Oh, yes. Not so much over the failure itself but over the fact that I had actually been hoping for success. That part of me had actually thought I could do it.
I couldn't. I was not at all ready to be operating a vehicle alone and I knew it, along with everyone around me. But still, the hope was there, and it hurt when that hope died, unrealistic and naive as it was. In hindsight, I could see the blessing in it—the world would be a safer place. But in that moment, man alive, I was ready to hire a chauffeur and never get behind the wheel for the rest of my life.
The thing is, there was another blessing buried in that tragic failure that I only see now, after passing my next test with far greater readiness than before. That failure stripped me of self-sufficiency. Right down to the bone. As I drove to the test centre yesterday, of course I wanted to pass, but instead of begging God to make me competent, give me success, help me to do all the right things, most of me was saying, "Oh, God. It's up to you. I've done my job, so here. Take it. This is in your hands."
The difference lay in the surrender, in the honest relinquishment of self. I knew—because He had shown me—that I couldn't do it on my own. At the very least, I only had a fifty-fifty chance without His will on my side. And though I was still nervous, I also recognized a new peace in myself, a peace from which the words, "Thy will be done," flowed more honestly and meaningfully than they had before.
The difference also lay in the gratitude. If I had passed that first time, I don't know if my first thought would have been to praise God. There would have been excitement, a sense of accomplishment, and in the back of my mind, probably a voice whispering that I could do it all along—see? I had it in the bag.
This time, as I stood in line to acquire my new license, I found myself in tears. Grateful, grateful tears.
Surrender is a process. So is gratitude, and sometimes our best progress on the road to both is brought about by the ugliest, bitterest failures. My failure taught me something, and look, now I'm broadcasting one of the worst moments of my short life to the world! God is good, and He makes beauty from failure, so dry your tears, have a laugh at your own expense, and look for the lesson that will bring you that much closer to surrender and blessed thankfulness.
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