“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“Failure is just part of the process, and it's not just okay; it's better than okay. God doesn't want failure to shut us down. God didn't make it a three-strikes-and-you're-out sort of thing. It's more about how God helps us dust ourselves off so we can swing for the fences again. And all of this without keeping a meticulous record of our screw-ups.”
― Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
Before time existed, God was and was perfectly whole, full, and wonderful. And, for a reason we don’t always understand, He saw fit to create us so that we could share in the perfect wholeness and love that He had. He then did something even wilder than create us: He gave us the ability to choose, to make great decisions or terrible ones, to love or to hate, to break or to heal.
Because we get to decide what we do, we can win and triumph and soar above. For most of us, this tendency to triumph is one of the greatest parts of humanity. We get to see people overcome impossible obstacles, defeat metaphorical or actual giants, love and serve others in such a way that our hearts are moved. In the tenacity of the human spirit, it’s grit and perseverance—its ability to do such truly great, wonderful, good things— we see the beauty in what God created in these moments.
And then we fail. Humanity fails. We make mistakes, missteps, and errors. We make poor business decisions, we waste money and time, we hurt someone we love. And we can feel the downside of choice, that we can choose things that aren’t amazing.
And when we fall, we hear this nagging voice in our heads (or even from friends, loved ones, or strangers) that we “shouldn’t” have made that mistake. We think we hear God say it too: “you shouldn’t have done that.” We feel shame creep in. We start to hide our failures from Him and from each other. We fear their judgment, our own judgment, and God’s judgment, because we think we are going to be shown as lacking, broken, dirty, or bad.
But what if failure was necessary for growth, for love, for connection? What if failure was the thing that actually created change, healed our hearts, and helped us love? God did not ask for perfection, He asked for Love. He asked us to show up and to accept others as best as we can. He asked us to love each other so much that failures are not seen as gross diseases of a feeble-minded person with no self-control and no morality but that failures are a human necessity that, for some reason, brings us so much closer to each other and infinitely closer to God.
If we allowed each other to fail—without judgment, condemnation, or fear—and we were allowed to fail, do you think we would grow faster? Do you think we would love each other better? Do you think our relationships would be more open? More honest? More fun? Do you think more people would feel acceptance from the Church as a whole? Do you think you would feel more love?
You are allowed to fail. Heck, you should fail. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t growing. If you aren’t failing, you are aiming for perfection which is only attainable by one being: The Creator Himself. You are not God, you are a human— a human who is so loved by the One who spoke the sea into existence, the One who drew the lines in your hands, the One who calls the sun to rise and set, so loved that He will lead you to a place in which you fail and fail, over and over again, until you realize that you’re relationship with Him, with others, and with yourself is way more important than whether you trip and fall along the way.