In my first years of ministry, I was employed in leading the worship and music ministry at our church. During the summers I conducted musical talent shows at the teenage youth camps. One particular camp sticks out in my memory. During the auditioning that summer, I informed two promising young ladies that their talent probably would be better invested in some other venue of artistry. I dismissed them from the auditions and did not give them a chance to compete. A few years later in the hometown of these teens, one of them spotted me and came to speak. “You will be pleased to know that we didn’t heed your advice a few years ago. We persisted and today we are preparing to cut our first record.” I politely smiled, congratulated them and walked away wanting to find a bucket to stick my head in. My evaluation and response of a few years back had been so wrong.
Undoubtedly you can name the faces in the photographs above. Do you know what
distinguished group has in common?
At a crucial and critical moment in their lives, each of them heard the negative response of a well-meaning friend who said. “Quit now, while you’re behind!”
Their mentors, instead of encouraging them to persist and face their faults tossed a bucket of cold water on them.
Their friends were so focused on an apparent fault and visible failure that they were
that each of them would fail. They could not see around their present limitations.
But how wrong they were!
Imagine for a moment that you were the mentor, coach, or advisor of one of
distinguished faces at the time of their recent failure. What would you tell them?
Face your failure.
Don’t quit now.
You have such great potential.
That sounds like good advice.
For a moment let’s imagine that you are one of these pictured above. Any chance you’re stuck or hung up on some past or present failure? Have you heard voices, well-meaning ones suggesting that you quit? Does the voice in your head loudly proclaim your faults and suggest you throw in the towel on your efforts to make a difference? Do you feel doomed to failure? Are you hiding out in a secluded dark cave to avoid facing one more critic?
If there are no voices speaking hope into your corner of the world, let me de one today. If your goal is not your own success, but the success that honors and glorifies God then consider the following thoughts.
Face Your Failure – its okay to own up to your failed attempts to make it work. What exactly went wrong with your plans?
Own the pain – You don’t have to hide that it hurts. Feel free to express your disappointment and how much it hurt to not see your plans turn into reality, yet. There is Someone who knows the sting of others doubt.
Invite God into the pain – In Scripture there was a man who after feeling defeated hid out in a cave. His name was Elijah. He discovered that He was not alone in his cave. God was there with him. I believe that God is there with you too in the middle of any and all of your failures. Thank God that He is with you there in your disappointment and seeming failure.
Persist don’t quit. You can say, “I haven’t achieved my goals, my plans, yet.”
In the 20th century, five of the best selling books first met with repeated no’s from publishing
before they were published.
Richard Hooker‘ s M*A*S*H* was rejected by 21 publishers. Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki met with 20 no’s from publishers. Patrick Dennis’s Auntie Mame had 17 rejections. Johnathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach heard 18 rejections.
Aren’t you glad that these authors did not desist? So how about you and your struggle to make a difference? I hope you will not desist but persist. We need your contribution, with the failure notices as well.
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