Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Failing Foward

I am quite the fan of Proverbs 31 Ministries, especially Renee Swope, who I heard speak at a women's conference a year ago. I am subscribed to the P31 daily devotions. Each devotion is written by a different member of the P31 team, and thought I'd share with you today's message about Failing Forward by Renee Swope. It's an excellent reminder to keep pressing forward no matter how often we screw up. We're not perfect by any means (I'll be the first to stand up, wave both arms, and admit to that!). However, what is important is to not get discouraged, but to recognize our faults, correct our mistakes, and move foward.

13 May 2009

"The steps of a [woman] are established by the Lord, and He delights in [her] way. When [she] falls, [she] will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds [her] hand." Psalm 37:23-24 (NASB)

I admire, maybe even envy, people who aren't afraid to fail. You know, those people who see personal setbacks as another goal to conquer. People who don't even consider defeat when they blow it.

I wish I were that kind of person. But honestly, I am not always so courageous in the face of failure.

Failure is painful. It's embarrassing. And sometimes it makes me want to give up, mainly on myself.

God is teaching me a lot about failing. In fact, He is giving me a little push these days, to fail forward.

This week He's been challenging me to determine in my heart and mind that I am a work in progress and move forward even when I have a setback. He is reminding me that I am a woman who is becoming all He created her to be.

A woman who is growing.

A woman who is getting better and better each day.

A woman who is not perfect - but who tries to surrender to God's perfect love and perfect power at work in her.

Failing forward...after I shoot harsh words across the room to "shoosh" my child when he announces that the yogurt in our near empty refrigerator has expired and there is nothing to eat! That is, after I'd just opened the large container of perfectly good yogurt, eaten some myself and served it to his brother for a snack.

Failing forward...after I criticize my husband and realize I failed to honor my man, again. Instead I've added to an already stressful day for the husband and father who just brought home groceries.

Failing forward...after I let myself be "too busy" to take the time to encourage, sit with, talk to, and listen to my always-giving-and-forgiving-mom who stopped by unexpectedly this afternoon.

Failing forward...after I tell God that a certain ministry assignment is too stinkin' hard so I can't do it because surely I don't have what it takes.

Every time I fail to be the woman God calls me to be, or the woman I expect myself to be, God reminds me of the progress we've made. Because, even though I may not be who I want to be, I am not who I used to be!

And I get that much closer to who I am meant to be every time I fail forward.

Dear Lord, I am so thankful that with Your help, I can fail forward!! I don't have to see my setbacks as a step back. In fact they can lead me forward if I let them. Today, I will take Your hand and trust Your heart as You pull me back up again and use my failures to help me become the woman You created m e to be. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Related Resources:

Shaped with Purpose Workbook and CD by Renee Swope

Youniquely Woman: Becoming Who God Designed You To Be by Kay Arthur, Emilie Barnes, and Donna Otto

Beyond the Shadow of Doubt: Learning to Live Confidently in Christ, Message on DVD by Renee Swope

Visit Renee's Blog for practical ways we can fail forward with God's help in the areas where we most often feel defeated.

Application Steps:
List one or two areas of your life where you have felt like you were failing. Then ask God to show you how you can take one step forward with His help. And also ask Him to show you the progress you've made and how you are becoming the woman He created you to be.

Do I allow failure to discourage me and make me feel like I'll never move forward or ma ke progress?

Am I willing to believe God's promise in today's key verse: That the LORD establishes my steps, and delights in my ways. And even when I fall, I don't have to be hurled headlong, because the LORD is willing to hold my hand?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 24:16a, "...though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again." (NIV)
Psalm 73:26, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (NIV)

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