The boys were playing checkers, and like only a good big brother would do, George beat Oliver again and again. The more checker pieces George collected; the more Oliver’s temper began to rise. Pretty soon the checker pieces were on the floor and a pouty face was staring daggers at his brother. “It’s not fair,” Oliver cried, and in George’s calm way he said, “Oliver, it is good to fail!”
I found this statement interesting prior to the checkers fiasco because I felt the Lord tell me this week He wanted me to write on failure. As I sat and listened to George tell his brother how if he pushes Oliver and doesn’t go easy on him, it will only make him a better player. Like only a little, defeated brother would do; he did not receive any of it. I thought it was time mom jumped in. I took a piece of paper and threw it in the air trying to get it to land on the floor vent. I did it again and again until I finally grabbed the paper, stretched my arm across the floor and gently swooped it onto the vent. I said, “Oliver, the first few times I tried to get this paper exactly on the floor vent, I failed, but then I figured out a new strategy.”
When I was in a sea of failed moments as a first time homeschool mom, a dear friend sent me a Ted Talk, and believe it or not, it was on failure. That British Professor made a huge impact on me that day. He informed me that when we let ourselves and our kids fail, we are actually permitting creativity, opening doors for new strategies, and giving the safety to do it all. Little did I know that this was not only a reminder to allow healthy failure for my kids, but for me also. From the time we took our first step to the moment we accepted our first professional job, we have heard, “you failed” a time or two. Some of us heard this more than others, but instead of it fueling us for greatness, it makes us wither like a leaf on a frozen tree. Failure can sometimes seem like such a scary word, that we do everything in our power to not fail at anything, which, let’s be honest, is exhausting. It’s hard to fathom that even the God of the Universe does not ask we acquire perfection. Jesus said in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Phfew… what a relief to know that even God says it is okay that we are not perfect, in fact, that is when God’s perfection can come in. Paul, then continued in 2 Corinthians to boast about his weakness.
I believe God is reminding us to take failure, not as a setback, but as a spring forward. Some of you have heard, “you can’t do this,” too many times in your life and you’re like that frozen leaf on the tree. Spring is here my friends and it’s time to defrost. It’s time to get out the dusty writings, the artwork, the dreams of new inventions and ideas and remember, it’s okay to fail. Albert Einstein said, “a person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.” As we venture out into our days making mistakes and failures along the way, let us not sulk and pout like Oliver did over the board game. Let’s try something new and look for different angles, you may be surprised at just how creative and wonderful you truly are.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26