It can be hard to believe that failure is a good thing.
I've failed over and over as an entrepreneur, and it really hurts at times. You put yourself out there, and that project you've invested so much of your time and effort on winds up being a complete failure.
Two years ago, I had an idea to create a book that would make personal development fun. I wanted to help my friends and family get started with their ideas and dreams by first showing them how to break through internal barriers.
So, I locked myself in the house and got to work. A month later, I released my first published book called, Win Journal: A 31-day Journey Within.
At the time, I thought the title was genius. In hindsight, I'm embarrassed because that was the most unsexy title ever. And if I'm honest, that book was one of my biggest failures as an entrepreneur.
It was a failure from the moment I sat down to write it and said to myself, "I don't want this to be a religious thing."
I believe the Word of God is the ultimate source of help, but I intentionally left scripture out of the book to market to a broader audience.
And not to my surprise, book sales plummeted after the first two months. I could've stepped up my marketing game, but I didn't, because deep down inside I knew I failed before I even started.
A few months later, I had another "brilliant" idea.
I've taken missions trips to Jamaica for the last 4 summers, and I wanted to help out even more. So, I jumped at the idea to launch a campaign to provide backpacks and school supply kits for some of the kiddos in the community.
I was able to raise about $1000 out of my $2500 goal through the super generous support of friends and family.
But, once again I failed.
The campaign itself didn't fail—we were able to distribute 144 backpacks and supply kits to the kids. I was the one who failed.
Summer 2016: Some of the kids in Kingston with their school supply kits and backpacks.
Instead of waiting on God to give me direction on what needs to address in the community, I jumped ahead of Him. And boy did have a big wake-up call!
I learned that when we distribute free things in large quantities to impoverished communities, it takes away from the local businesses that sell those items to make a living.
AND there were much greater needs in the community at the time. If you look closely at the picture above, some of the boys didn't even have shoes on their feet. No shoes = no school.
In Judges 20, the Israelites united to attack the men of Benjamin. The Israelites asked God which tribe should go first, and He told them to send the tribe of Judah.
The next morning when they attacked, the Benjaminites killed 22,000 Israelites on the battlefield.
The Israelites cried in the presence of the Lord until evening and asked Him if they should fight the Benjaminites again. The Lord told them to go out and fight them.
So, they encouraged each other and prepared themselves to fight again. The next day, they went out to fight the Benjaminites and 18,000 of their experienced swordsmen were killed.
Once again, the Israelites cried in the presence of the Lord until evening, but this time they also fasted and brought burnt offerings and peace offerings to Him. Then, they asked the Lord if they should fight the Benjaminites again or stop.
The Lord then says, “Go! Tomorrow I will hand them over to you,” in verse 28.
Now, of course, I wasn't there during that time, but my guess is that the Israelites realized they had to come up with a different strategy because doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. So, they set up an ambush.
The next day, the Benjaminites attacked and started killing some of the Israelites. And just when they got cocky and thought they were winning, God helped the Israelites defeat the men of Benjamin.
Ok, so here's a quick recap:
The Israelites wanted to get revenge on the men of Benjamin. They consulted God after they already formulated their plans, and instead of asking Him if they should attack the Benjaminites, they asked Him which tribe to send first.
God then tells them which tribe to send. They fail.
Then, they get smarter and ask God if they should fight the men of Benjamin? God tells them to go out again. They fail.
They consult God a third time, and He tells them the next time they go out they'll be victorious. The Israelites learn from their past mistakes, change their strategy, and with the help of God, they succeed.
Wow! There's so much we can learn from this story that I'm shaking (literally) with excitement.
When you don't consult God first with your plans (and even when you do), He will often allow you to fail to help you grow. But every time you fail, you'll get smarter, stronger, and better prepared for the next battle.
And just because God says yes, doesn't mean you're exempt from failures, obstacles, and challenges. These are the things that God uses to build your faith.
When you fail, turn to God and keep moving forward. When you fail again, turn to God and keep moving forward. In everything you do (and before you do), turn to God and keep moving forward.
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." — Romans 8:28
We all fail. It's a part of life that we (as in maybe just me) hate to embrace. But, with God, your failures can and will eventually lead to success.
God is working everything out for the good. Keep pushing forward.
What's one thing you took away from today's message? As always, I'd love to hear from you. Reply on the discussion page, and I look forward to hearing from YOU.
You were born to do great things. Go get'em tiger! ;)