Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Beating Back Failure

Blair Walsh is battling something every one of us faces at one time or another in our lives. He is the Minnesota Vikings kicker who missed the potential game-winning field goal last Sunday in the wildcard playoff game with the Seattle Seahawks. Compared to the three field goals he made earlier in the game, this was a chip shot, a no-brainer, something he could do in his sleep. But nothing in life is a sure bet. He kicked it left of the uprights, and with no time remaining for the Vikings to stage a comeback, they were knocked out of the NFL playoffs.

Walsh could have tried to hide in the locker room, but he chose to face the reporters first. He could have shifted the blame to his teammates-the offense that couldn't push the ball over the goal line; instead, he spoke about how hard they worked and how he had failed them.

How do you handle the guilt, shame and regret that comes with failure? Most of us experience that in our childhood and come up with various ways to deal with it. We try hiding, making excuses, or shifting the blame. The toughest thing is to man up and confess what we've done wrong. As adults we might try more sophisticated tactics like throwing someone else under the bus, or escaping to alcohol or drugs. But we can learn a great lesson from Blair Walsh: face up to the facts and commit to try harder next time.

That's what confession is all about: no excuses, no shifting of blame. We simply come before our God in meekness, guilt, shame and humility and hear His promise to forgive us for Jesus' sake. This is possible because our Lord Jesus took our guilt and failure upon Himself and suffered God's wrath in our place, on the cross.

But what if the shame and regret won't go away? What if in the back of our minds we keep replaying our failures and find that regret holds us back from being a successful father, a leader at work or church, or the husband we know we can be?

We might have a little something that can help. It's our video Bible study, Regrets, Reality, Restoration. It tells the story of four individuals whose failures threatened to engulf them and destroy their lives. Watch and see how the grace of God was working in their circumstances and how He even enabled them to see their forgiven failures as opportunities to rally around other people who were suffering from shame and regret. You can check it out by clicking here.

Blair Walsh did the right thing. Now he needs his teammates to stand by his side, to offer their encouragement, their trust, and their confidence that he can do better next time.

Failures are the hallmarks of life. We've all blown it countless times, letting ourselves down, and others along with us. How did you deal with a regrettable failure in your life? How did you rally around a friend who struggled with an epic failure?

Overcoming failure is a life exercise we will always be able to practice. Tell us how you do it by clicking here and sharing your thoughts.

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