There is life after failure

Published 9:08 pm Thursday, April 5, 2018

By Nathan Rice

It was 2015, and I was at the point where I realized there was no saving the endeavor I had worked so long to build. It was beyond the point of resuscitation, and it was time for me to admit defeat.

It wasn’t easy to do. I had worked long hours, poured lots of money into the attempt and did my best in every aspect of what I was trying to do. There was even a point when I thought it might actually be working. Things were looking up, and I began to believe that the hard work might be paying off. The upswing did not last, however, and I found myself staring at the end. The proverbial ruins of my dream surrounded me and failure brought with it a heavy weight.

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Failure is a part of life. Even the most successful among us have failed at something. We can borrow the baseball cliché that says the only ones who have never struck out are the ones who have never stepped up to the plate. While I am not grateful for my failure, I am grateful for the lessons I learned from the failure.

It is important to realize that failure does not define us or change our value as human beings. We tend to look at ourselves along with the failures that we’re facing, and we label ourselves as failures. That self-imposed label can then begin to affect our feelings of self-worth.

But God has never defined us or valued us based on our achievements. Our Heavenly Father’s love for us has absolutely nothing to do with any success here on earth. His love for us, and the value that stems from that love, comes from the fact that He created us in His image. Our value was shown on the cross, and no personal failures can change the price that was paid for us.

Failure also has a way of keeping us from trying again. Bloodied from the defeat, we throw in the towel, step out of the ring and declare our retirement from trying again. However, once we learn that failure doesn’t define us, we are free to try again. Failure can even make us stronger as it provides the opportunity to learn from the events of the past.

It’s been several years since I failed to achieve my dream, and it still stings a little. There will always be a scar, but that scar no longer points me to my past failure. It now points me to the arms of the God who loves me without condition, and instead of keeping me from trying again, it encourages me to swing for the fences one more time.

Past failures do not have to define you. Don’t let the sting of defeat keep you from experiencing the joy of potential victories. Get back up and shoot for the stars one more time.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.