Today, I missed the mark. Today, I did not meet the standard. Today, I could not achieve the expectations set before me. Today, I failed.
It sucks. It hurts. It is disappointing. It is frustrating. It's uncomfortable. It forces me into a situation where I have to make a choice. I have to make a conscious choice on how I am going to react to my own failure.
Blame or Change
The first choice any of us have to make is where to place the blame for my failure. It would be easy to blame those around me or outside circumstances for the failure. Pointing the figure away from yourself is always the easiest answer. It is easy because it requires the change to be initiated by others or claims that the results were outside of our own control. On top of that, the desire to blame can almost always be justified. There almost always IS someone or something else that had a part to play in our failure. The harder, and often the most useful, choice is to admit that you were at fault as well. That there were things that you could have done better. We aren't perfect people and we mess up. It is hard for us to admit to ourselves sometimes, but it is true and it is okay. Once you accept that fact to can move on and make the necessary changes and move forward from the failure. Allow yourself to grow from the situation rather then letting yourself be trapped in a victim mindset.
"Lord , we confess our wickedness and that of our ancestors, too. We all have sinned against you."
Jeremiah 14:20 NLT
"This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all."
1 Timothy 1:15 NLT
Incident or Identity
The next most important thing to choose when faced with your own failure is your own self image. This one might seem a little ridiculous from an outside perspective looking in, but remains super critical to your own ability to function and move beyond any failure. If we let our failures establish our identity we will always be dragged down by them and return to them. If we, however, rise above them. Looking at them as incidents that are in our past we give ourselves the freedom to move forward again. We allow ourselves to cut ourselves off from the chains of the past. An identity that has roots in failure is permanent and no matter how hard we fight against it, it will always just be who we are. A failure. However, if we establish and believe that we have an identity that is defined by more than what we have done, that failure know is just an incident or a phase. It WAS something we struggled with. But not WHO we are.
This is not just a exercise in positive thinking though. This is biblically based a spiritually grounded. The Bible teaches us that we as Christians are now defined by Christ and His grace that was poured out on us.
"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
"Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT
Not just any identity will do for being able to rise above our own failures, but only our identity as God's imperfect children is enough. We all struggle from time to time and we all fail and fall flat on our faces at other times. If we want to grow from these moments we have to take responsibility for our actions. We then have to place the incident in the past and place our future and our identities in God's grace for us.