Do You Like To Succeed?

I’ve been doing some new projects: trying my hand at making bread & working on getting my YouTube channel up & running! With my attempts, I’ve had lots of bumps along the road. For example, I forgot to turn on the mic & focus the lens for the video stuff & my bread stuff last week wasn’t tasty. But I keep trying & more importantly, I keep improving!
The principle of gradual improvement is a good thing to embrace because it helps us avoid the failure trap. This trap says that the failing as an action becomes failure, the noun. Just because you fail doesn’t make you a failure. Let’s be aware that failing is an integral part of the process for succeeding, when we stay in a state of continual learning. Succeeding is the consequence of learning from both failures & mistakes. So let’s celebrate the bumps along the road because they inch us closer & closer to success!!

Make Mistakes

Perfect is for heaven & practice is for earth. I’m the poster child for making mistakes, stubbing my toe & failing. I’m ok with that because I can hopefully encourage others to try, learn, grow & improve.

We get ourselves in a dangerous place when we quit or stop trying. Here are some things that could help you to keep trying:

  • Learn – what’s the last thing you learned, besides various facts? What skill are you learning?
  • Grow – sometimes it hurts to grow & this can be associated with growing pains. But growing means something is alive!
  • Step – a step is progress, even if it’s small 🙂

Try It!!

One of the things from my parents that I deeply cherish, is the “try it!” attitude. So when I was growing up, I tried heaps of stuff: lacrosse, blue corn tortillas, clarinet, softball, Perry Mason tv mysteries, eating crawdads, swimming in canals, classical music, basketball, viola & loads more! Of course I wasn’t proficient in most of these things but my parents were always super encouraging, even when I miserably flopped. So to this day, I’m a “try it” kind of person & I love this mindset!
Indeed, I’d rather try & fail, then not try & succeed at not trying. Peter was like this with Jesus when he walked on the water. He tried it & had some failure, but it seems to me that he was the first human water walker just because he tried!

testing: 1, 2, 3

This is a test of the emergency services with this blog ,)

Recently, there was a glitch with some web stuff, causing some stress but not weeping or gnashing of teeth 🙂

Seems that when we go through test seasons, hopefully they’re short, it’s a chance for us to do some depth charge work.  Tests can reveal weakspots where we need to get better at trusting God.  Tests can be encouraging to us when they show us how much we’ve grown.  Tests can also show us where we need to get better at teamwork or being more independent, whichever can be more natural or fleshly to us.  I don’t like tests, but they certainly show me some essential information and they help me lean into the Holy Spirit better, which is good for everyone most of all, me!

So testing 1, 2, 3 – let’s go through the test and relish the outcomes! 🙂

What Is Success?

I can’t think of a person who wants to fail or be unsuccessful, but I think we need to be careful about how we define success. If success is our bank account, then we might be letting money be an idol. If success is our achievements, then we might be in danger of becoming self-absorbed. If success is how we look, then we run the risk of worshipping the image idol. 
There are lots of ways to frame or define success, but if we use the Bible to define success then let’s consider Jer 9:23-24. These verses say that success isn’t based on our wealth, our strength or our intelligence. Instead, success is based on the life pursuit of knowing God. 

May everything we do spring from this definition of success: that we live to know God better day after day, with the help of the Holy Spirit!

The Path to Pentecost: Failure

Regardless of our best intentions, all of us fail.  The most encouraging example for me with failure is when I think about Jesus’ disciple, Peter.  I think he majorly failed when he betrayed Jesus & it seems to me that he was more than disappointed with himself with this failure (Luke 22:61-62).

In sharp contrast to Peter’s failure with betraying Jesus, a little more than six weeks after this downfall, Peter is the lead promoter to stand in front of thousands of people on the Day of Pentecost to be Jesus’ lead frontman.  This is quite the reversal in Peter’s life and this encourages us that

no failure that we’ve experienced can exceed Jesus’ power to redeem.

 So rather than hide or run from our failures, let’s sit at Jesus’ feet, be transparent and vulnerable, and yield to the Holy Spirit pouring love into our hearts (Rom 5:5), for redeeming each shortfall to lift up Jesus better than we could without that failure 🙂

Dont’ forget to grab your copy of Heavenly Help & be sure to write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles & Goodreads!

Time to Quit

When I was growing up, I had this really strong value about not quitting. Even when things might be discouraging, I didn’t quit. I didn’t quit taking piano lessons for 9years, despite burning through like 7 different teachers. When I started playing basketball, I didn’t quit even though I was thoroughly uncoordinated, slow, couldn’t jump & had no athletic ability (lots of heart but no natural gifting). I didn’t quit.
Now that I’m older, I’ve decided to start quitting stuff. Some things that we should all consider quitting include:
*achieving for the purpose of feeling significant & valuable – you’re inherently valuable because God loves you, full stop
*trying to please people – that’s a dead end
*trusting in human wisdom – consider reading 1Cor 2 for some interesting ideas related to wisdom

What else is worth quitting?

what looks like failure

I hate the word “fail” – it almost makes me have a visceral gagging reaction, borderline puking.  Thankfully, if I take a minute to pause, evaluate and collect myself, I don’t puke.  But if I’m not careful, I can easily throw things into the “failure” column and in a nanosecond find myself back to mental wrestling mat, almost down for the count.  As God & I were talking about this whole failure thing this morning, I was reminded about how Jesus looked hanging on the cross, beat to a bloody pulp and possibly personifying the ultimate failure.  He was betrayed by his friends, completely helpless, physcially obliterated and even yelling at God, “Why have You forsaken Me?!??”

Hanging on the cross, Jesus looked more like a failure than anything I’ve ever experienced & yet from God’s perspective, perhaps Jesus had never been more successful in His earthly existence, up to that point.  Let’s be careful that we don’t frame failure in the context of defeat, permanent or hopeless.  Jesus rose from the dead and living in our hearts, we have resurrection potential every day.

Be sure to pass this along to anyone you know who is struggling with seeming defeat or failure 🙂

do you want to be successful?

How’s that for a stupid question!?!!  I don’t start anything with the intent to fail & I most certainly do not like to fail, full stop.  But some of my thinking about success has been changing & I’m becoming more aware that many of my ideas about success have been more influenced by my American culture rather than the Bible.  My culture says that success is all about being bigger, better, more, power, stronger, wealthy, popular, image driven, new, hip, trendy & all things glitz & glam.  In the American culture, success isn’t about being broken, serving, homely, unpopular or tarnished, some of the things that Jesus personified & taught.  The more I think about success from a cultural versus a biblical perspective, I have to conclude that my culture and the Bible don’t always agree.  The important part of the disagreement is the side on which I chose to live.  If I have to chose between being successful based on the Bible or on my culture, I’m going to side with the biblical definition of success 🙂

How about you?

practice :)

Failure is merely the evidence that more practice is needed.  I have a fun list of things that I’m pretty good at:  languages, cooking, basketball, travel, etc.  But the only reason I’m good at these things is because I’ve had alot of practice with them that has included boatloads of failures.  I don’t think I could even begin to list all of the burned or raw chickens I’ve made, the traveling bloopers I’ve done – especially with Saving Moses, baskets I’ve missed and comical mistakes I’ve made trying to learn various languages.  Failure is nothing more than an investment for success as long as we don’t quit 🙂

keep practicing!

the difference between failing and be a failure

 I know that it’s July & most of us are enjoying the lovely Summer heat, but I’ve been thinking about snowboarding, my favorite winter sport 🙂

All of my family skis & I’m the only one who snowboards.  When they measure the success of a day skiing, they’ll often talk about the few number of times that they fell, or that they didn’t fall at all.  In contrast, when I was first learning to snowboard, I stopped counting how many times that I fell because I can’t count that high ,)  But all of those times falling were nothing more than stepping stones to help me to learn a sport that I now thoroughly enjoy.  I still fall from time to time when I snowboard & now when I fall, I make sure that it’s a REALLY GOOD FALL 😀

So my point is that failing doesn’t make us a failure unless we quit.  There are alot of things in which we can fail in life & these things are often the exact places where God would like to move the most in our lives with beauty, grace, poise and redemption.