Somehow, we’ve come to believe that the “F” word is culturally unacceptable, politically incorrect, and personally unforgivable. It’s almost as if to simply utter the word is to instantly offend, and to hear it is to have a reaction of shock that (to be the most effective) is appropriately accompanied by the clutching of one’s pearls.
While the word may make us uncomfortable, it is part of the lexicon of our language and experiences. I mean, if you’re anything like me, or simply human, you may have bitten off more than you can chew. You may have written a check (figuratively) that your hind parts could not cash. Or you may have made a promise that you could not keep.
Am I right about that? Well, unless you are Jesus…no, I take that back. Even Jesus dealt with the unspeakable “F” word that is spelled out as “Failure.” On any given Sunday, you are guaranteed to hear preachers talk about the cross, which was Jesus’ big fat “F.”
So, welcome to the club that no one voluntarily joins, and where membership is so discrete that you may begin to think that you’re the only member. Not so! The club may seem exclusive, but I assure you that membership is inclusive and incalculable.
Now, interestingly while the other “F” word is widely circulated, the “F” word that is spelled out as “Failure” is not.
When was the last time you heard someone say, “Yay! I lost or Yay! I failed?”
Or the last time the refrain in your favorite song was, “all I do is fail?”
Better yet, when was the last time you celebrated a failure–any failure?
Never, Never, and I dare say NEVER!
So, how can you find redemption in the “F” word when you can’t even acknowledge it? When all you feel is shame? When you are too busy denying it to take advantage of the opportunity to learn any lessons from it? The answer is plain and simple…YOU CAN’T.
You can’t find redemption in what you do not acknowledge, cannot accept, and as a result will not grow from. I know this for a fact.
Listen, failure seems to be a recurring theme in my life–not because I’m shady, shifty (at least not intentionally), or flighty (maybe a little bit), but because I have this tendency to underestimate a task and overestimate my resources to get it done. There are so many cases in point on this front that I could share with you, but I’ll just draw your attention to these three for now…
1) Earlier this month I did a Self-Love 777 Challenge over 7 days, with 7 meditations, and 7 giveaways. With all the back-end work that I had to do to make this happen I did not deliver the meditations on time, only posted 5 of the 7 promised videos, and was so distracted by the back end that I missed out on the front end of engaging with my fellow sojourners in the Facebook group. I bit off more than I could chew…I FAILED!
2) Almost three years ago, I started working on the “I Am She” Project, and actually raised the funds to publish the book. Between living abroad and moving 5 times in two years, I was distracted from completing the book which should have been published two years ago. I could not cash the check that my mouth had written…I FAILED!
3) Back in March, I ambitiously started a 40 Day Lenten Blog, and I posted to my blog as planned for the first few weeks. Then in the midst of an international move, a return to my native home after being away for 28 years, and the reinvention of myself for what’s next, I ran out of gas after 27 posts. I made a promise that I could not keep…I FAILED!
But the good news is that there is redemption in the “F” word, and I do not have to wear it as a badge of shame. The redemption is in my own self-awareness about how I overextend myself in pursuit of my starry-eyed visions without considering divine timing. The redemption is in my own self-acceptance of my humanity and my limited resources, which may mean that I have to ask for help. God forbid! The redemption is in my self-actualization that comes from choosing to learn the lessons so that I can get up and try yet again, but hopefully the next time with more wisdom, more resilience, and more coherence.
There is a wise saying that states, “the only thing that beats a failure is a try.” Once you are able to look “Failure” in the eye–not as the enemy, but as your teacher, you can more fully invest your energy in trying again and again and again and… That being said, here are my takeaway lessons for my three “Failures” above:
Self-Love 777 Challenge – Get the back end done in advance or delay your target start date, and run the challenge for a shorter period of time. Doing 7 days may have been overkill. Revise it, shorten it, test it, and run it again in a few months.
The “I Am She” Project – Get help pulling all the pieces together, find venues to share the spoken word experience, and publish the book in 2018.
Day Week Lenten Blog – Since I am STILL in the wilderness, and since a day in the sight of God is like a thousand years, maybe I just need to go ahead and update my 40 days to 40 weeks! That being said, I’m 28 weeks in and you can consider this my 28th post!
There is redemption in the “F” word when you see it as your teacher and not your enemy. So, whether life gives you lemons, or you have inadvertently planted lemon trees, you can still make lemonade! Just make sure you sweeten it with self-awareness, self-acceptance, and the self-actualization that comes from learning from the lessons.