The Gift of Failure

Failure is a gift from God…and I need spirituality to teach me that for religion only speaks to the shame of failure and not to its giftedness.

Spirituality teaches us how to deal with, and accept, failure as a gift and a needed tool for our journey with and towards God; for failure is the twin of success, much the way doubt and faith are inseparably linked.

One of the foundational ‘tenets’ of Alcoholics Anonymous states that the journey of sobriety is about “progress not perfection…[for] we are not saints.”  Imperfection and failure are two of the tools God uses to draw me closer to him; for by embracing imperfection and failure, I am reminded of the glorious truth that I am indeed human.  And in my being human, nothing is drawn away from God and his relentless love, and I find that if I embrace that truth, I am also fully alive.

My failures prove only that I am not a saint, but they do not take away from any goodness that God has placed within me.  I am fond of saying if there is anything in me you find good, then you can give thanks to God and my mother, but if you find anything in me that is not good, well for that I apologize.

As I look over my life I see a wreckage of pain, failure and broken hearts and trust strewn across the path.  I feel regret, and rue some of the poorer choices I have made.  But God is eternally good, forgiving and loving so that in his hands my past wreckage becomes malleable clay to be remolded into a shining example of divine love mixed with utter humanity.

And like or not, that is indeed good news.

I am a jar of clay, cracked but valuable when surrendered fully into the hands of a loving God.  My failures become familiar scars, gentle reminders of the power of forgiveness and choice all held by the urgent compassion of God.

God does not judge my failures, only I and other people do that.  God’s love is a merciful cauldron burning the dross of my failures away turning them instead into divine gifts meant to be of service to God and others.  God’s love is greater than any human perspective, judgment, religion, or persuasion.  God’s love embraces my failures as a vital part of me and my journey back Home to him.  And if God embraces my failures, then I can do no less.

So today, I embrace all my failures…all of me, surrendering them over to the hands of God, asking not for them to be removed but to be transformed into the living gifts of a merciful God.


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