In Others’ Words: Failure


Now there’s a truth I wish I’d learned years ago: Failure is an event.

An event. 

There’s no denying that we all experience failures of all kinds in this world. Failures caused by our decisions and our choices. Failures caused by the decisions and choices of others. Deliberate actions and accidental missteps — both leading to failures.

But the life-changing truth is I am not the failure. You are not the failure. 

I gotta tell you, this is not how I lived my life for a lot of years. If something went wrong, well then, I failed — and I was a huge, disappointing f-a-i-l-u-r-e. Nobody had to tell me this — although sometimes people did — I knew it already and I made sure to tell myself, over and over again.

It’s okay to admit “Well, that didn’t go the way I planned” or to say “That was a complete bust” or even “I am so disappointed in how things turned out I just want to sit here and cry.”

But it’s vital to remember the event is the failure — not me. Not you.

That’s called giving ourselves grace.

In Your Words: Is failure an event or a person for you? How do you get through (or over or around) failure? 

Is failure an event or a person? Click to Tweet

How do you get through failure? Click to Tweet 


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  1. May 6, 2013, 4:35 am   /  Reply

    Yes, failure and/or success are mileposts on each journey, hopefully as we walk w/ God and let Him shape us in the process.
    I love the wisdom you dispense in these, Beth, and celebrate your release of CAFS tomorrow.

    • May 6, 2013, 4:53 pm   /  Reply

      Hi, Dee (and congratulations on semi-finaling in the Genesis!):
      I love this quote. It has stuck with me since last night — and I think it’s going to be a life-changer for me.

  2. May 6, 2013, 6:43 am   /  Reply

    Beth, such a good distinction. Sometimes I still forget that I am not the failure. I like how you put it: Failure is an event. It’s not a person. Needed those words today.

    So excited for your release!!

    • May 6, 2013, 4:53 pm   /  Reply

      I know, Jeanne. I needed this reminder too — and I think I need it constantly.

  3. May 6, 2013, 6:44 am   /  Reply

    What a wise, emotionally-healthy perspective, Beth. I’ll Tweet this 🙂

    • May 6, 2013, 4:54 pm   /  Reply

      Thanks for tweeting this, Elaine!

  4. May 6, 2013, 6:50 am   /  Reply

    Great perspective, Beth. Another thing…I’ve learned more from my failures than I ever learned from success.

    • May 6, 2013, 4:54 pm   /  Reply

      I agree, Pat. I do learn more from failures — and getting up and trying again.

  5. May 6, 2013, 7:09 am   /  Reply

    Very wise words, Beth! SO many people hear “you are a failure”. And even some who don’t hear it are taught it by action or reaction. Even with our prodigal daughter, we do not say “you are a failure”. Ever. She knows we loathe her lifestyle, but she knows we love her to bits.

    • May 6, 2013, 4:55 pm   /  Reply

      Exactly, Jennifer. Choices are one thing — the person is always loved.

  6. May 6, 2013, 10:37 am   /  Reply


  7. May 6, 2013, 10:45 am   /  Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing such wisdom, Beth. I’d have to say failure comes in the form of both people and events. The first is harder to absorb because we have to look them in the eye again – and forgive. It may take a little longer and certainly takes a LOT more of God’s grace. An event? Well, things happen. You don’t have to stare at an event in the eye and try to figure it out. It’s much easier to chalk it up to God’s timing. Absorbing the blame for such failure only keeps the would open.

    • May 6, 2013, 4:56 pm   /  Reply

      I see your perspective, Donna, and the truth of it.

  8. May 6, 2013, 11:14 am   /  Reply

    I’ve never looked at it like an event. I love this! I also agree with Donna, it can come in the form of people. My prayer is that regardless of the event/person, that God will help me to stay pliable and have a teachable spirit.

    • May 6, 2013, 4:56 pm   /  Reply

      Great perspective on our response, Jess.

  9. May 6, 2013, 12:04 pm   /  Reply

    Brilliantly said! This is a very helpful post. Thank you.

    • May 6, 2013, 4:57 pm   /  Reply

      Thanks for joining the conversation today, Larry.

  10. May 6, 2013, 12:18 pm   /  Reply

    Great post. I needed this reminder.

    I started reading a great book last night. I’m only two chapters in, and I’m hooked. What’s the name of it? Catch a Falling Star.

    • May 6, 2013, 4:57 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you for the encouragement, Keli! 🙂

  11. May 7, 2013, 12:49 am   /  Reply

    I love the word grace. Thanks for the grace-filled reminder, Beth.

  12. May 7, 2013, 7:01 am   /  Reply

    Happy release day!!! Woo-hoo! I had to learn this. I used to believe a person could be but I’m leaving that thought.

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