Why Your Failures Don’t Define You

Last week, I sat down on the couch to find something to watch with my three year old. The only station he would sit still to watch was the Alpine skiing championships.

As I watched each skier take off and head down the mountain, I was amazed by their speed, precision, and intensity to beat the clock no matter what.

Obviously, these skiers trained like crazy and had worked their way to the top. But what stood out to me the most was when one happened to fall or his foot would slip, he’d get back up and keep going. He would plan on making up for lost time further down the slope.

He didn’t let an unexpected fall interfere with his ultimate goal of crossing the finish line.

How true it is in our faith that we often let a stumbling block, failure or mistake keep us down on the ground. We focus so hard on the fact that we slipped, that we don’t shake the dust (or snow) off our shoes and move on. We forget what Scripture says:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Gal. 6:9

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. – James 1:2-3

God knows that we fall at times. He knows we want to give up in the battle against sin. He knows that we doubt if he will carry us through the really tough and testing times in our faith.

Maybe you set some New Year’s resolutions and you’ve already failed at them. Maybe you set some goals spiritually, physically, or in your relationships and marriage but you’ve fallen short. And you didn’t plan on that happening exactly. And you’re down because it’s only January!

The good news is that the next step for you is to get back up and keep pressing on.

But trust me. You will be tempted to let the failure define you or to let it replay in your mind over and over. Don’t let it.

Christ defines you. He is your identity. He is your hope in the fight against sin. He is the one who gives you the grace and strength to make it through.

So whatever it is that you’re struggling with, don’t lose heart. Because Christ has already promised if you do not give up, you will reap a harvest in due time. And your persevering will be totally worth it.

Do you ever struggle with allowing some kind of slip to define you?

 

 

contagious inspiration

I go through weeks where I’m inspired to write and weeks where I just write regardless if I’m inspired or not. The latter is definitely the hardest and not what I prefer, but it’s reality. For a while now, I have forgotten about the things in my life that help keep me inspired and motivated when it comes to using my gifts specifically in writing. Joys and delights like:

Slowly, I’ve been rediscovering these joys more intentionally and I’m realizing that whatever inspires me should in some form or another, inspire another person to move to action. To do something different.

Inspiration should infect other people. It shouldn’t be hoarded. Contained. Or kept a secret.

If the inspiration I receive is all about me, that would be a tragedy. The people who have inspired me the most in life, gave themselves away. And what they had to give was contagious, producing a ripple effect.

I know inspiration in writing will still come and go in the seasons of life, but I want to keep at it. I want to inspire others to take action in ways I will never know about.

What inspires you?

Mt. Elbrus & The Last Well

It’s not every day that I run into a bunch of guys who are willing to risk their lives by climbing one of the tallest mountains in Europe. But their their purpose behind climbing the mountain is what gave them greater hope and motivation. Their purpose inspired me in what it means to help someone who doesn’t have access to such a critical need.

Chad Madden, one of our producers was one of those guys, along with Todd Phillips who works with us regularly with our resources and at our Fusion and LeadNow events.

Chad shares his account of Elbrus:
I was asked earlier this year if I’d be willing to film a group of climbers attempting to summit Mount Elbrus, the tallest mountain in Europe at 18,500 ft.  Of course this meant I would have to climb the mountain as well, otherwise all the shots would just be of the group walking away from me, which isn’t good video.
 
I grew up in Houston, which couldn’t be flatter, and I now live in Dallas, which is, well, flat.  The last time I remember even climbing a hill was in elementary school, when I went to Colorado with a friend and his family.  We woke up one morning and looked out a window and decided we’d climb the nearest mountain (it was just a hill, but to 6th graders it looked like a mountain).  We made it to the top and planted a flag (a burlap bag with my name on it that my mom sent for dirty laundry) at the top, which probably was a federal offense or something, littering in a state park.
 
All that to say, I was woefully underqualified to climb a mountain.  But I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so I said yes.
 
The group I went with was climbing to raise money for 
The Last Well, a movement to provide clean water to the entire nation of Liberia in the name of Christ.  Weird, climbing a mountain to raise money for water, at least that’s what I thought, but it’s funny how much you think about water on the mountain.  Staying hydrated is about the most important thing up there. That and not falling off the mountain. Or being eaten by a Yeti (we actually met someone looking for him/it?).
 
What seemed at first to be a strange connection turned out to be, I think, a great idea.  Basically, these guys took something they loved to do and found a way to help people while doing it.  They already had to pay for the trip, it could have just been a mountain climb, but by using it to raise money for clean water, it connected them to something bigger, it gave them a greater sense of purpose, and I think ultimately it made the journey much more satisfying.  And the non-mountaineering video guy survived without losing any fingers or toes, which was also quite satisfying.

At the end of the trip, Chad filmed teaching segments from Todd Phillips to be used in an upcoming series on leadership. I really enjoyed hearing Chad tell his story this past week especially how he didn’t struggle with altitude sickness like the majority of the crew. I’m not sure how I would handle the mountain. Maybe I would get sick, maybe whine or complain but I hope that I would be thinking about the people in Liberia more than anything. That is certainly what kept these guys going forward.


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