The most abysmal failure of my life was the time I planted and pastored a church and after four years of loving, nurturing and pouring my whole self into it, it died. I’ve succeeded at so many things, but this thing I could not do. In 2015, just one year into the church plant, my marriage weathered its toughest storm. That crisis tormented my soul and sucked away at my mortal energy.
My focus was everywhere except growing and pastoring the flock. I never regained my momentum and after a series of losses, it was glaringly apparent I could no longer lead these people. So, in August 2018, we closed the doors and my family joined another Nazarene church; now I support someone else’s ministry.
I spent the better part of a year nursing those wounds and trying to recover from that failure. I told myself I was done being a pastor. I removed the title from my resume, social media and website, donated over 100 theological books to the local thrift store and set about to ignore anything God would have to say to me on the topic.
Fortunately, I’ve done a lot of healing since that time and decided that verse about “the gifts and call of God being irrevocable” (Romans 11:29) is probably true (insert big toothy grin here). While I don’t aspire to be the lead pastor again, I do want to preach because women need to see women in the pulpit preaching and leading. I spoke at a ladies retreat three weeks ago and I’ve started writing again. I’m definitely in a different headspace and better able to frame that failure. In fact, I really don’t even see it as a failure anymore because it’s hard to call something a failure when I learned so much from it.
Which brings me to the main point here: failure doesn’t get the last word.
Failure doesn’t mean I didn’t accomplish anything, it means I learned something.
Failure doesn’t mean I was a fool, it does mean I had enough faith to try.
Failure doesn’t mean I’ve been disgraced, it means I dared to move forward.
Failure doesn’t mean I don’t have what it takes, it means I have to do something in a different way.
Failure doesn’t mean I’m inferior, it means I am not perfect.
Failure doesn’t mean I’ve wasted my time or life, it means I have an excuse to start all over again.
Failure doesn’t mean I should give up, it means I should reload.
Failure doesn’t mean I’ll never make it, it means I need more patience.
Failure doesn’t get the last word!
References: John Maxwell Podcast, Failure isn’t Final