Some of the most important things about YOU…
Come from some of your most difficult moments.
Can YOU see you… like God sees YOU?
Do you hear Christ say of you, like the Father said to His Son… “This is my beloved son (or daughter) in whom I am well pleased?”
Or, do your failures and past struggles shape your view of YOU? Are defined by what has gone wrong, or by how God has shaping your identity, and what He says is right about you?
In America, we are so much about success and image, that struggle and failure is actually cross-cultural to the Church today. Yet God does some of most important shaping work during failure.
God uses all things to shape those who passionately seek to follow him (Romans 8:28-31). God shapes each of us through people, events and circumstances. Each is one of his sculpting tools.
The pain of life’s difficult moments… the wrong choices, mix motives and past hurt and wounding all contribute to moments of failure. Yet each also serves to shape one’s life’s convictions and values.
The surprise is that sometimes the failures and the struggles shape the values of a leader, and vision for the future, even more than his or her successes.
Some of My failures…
Centered around caring too much of what others opinion was of me, and in seeking their applause and approval.
I gave myself away in hopes that others would approve and validate who I am. It is painful to look back and see those moments, and to admit that I cared more about what others thought of me than what Jesus did… But those moments are part of what has shaped who I am… the values I hold to be true… and what I do today.
Out of these struggles and failures has come a set of values and core convictions that include: “relational ministry,” “authentic leaders,” and a personal vision/passion to coach and resource clarity in the calling and identity of risk-taking, Christ-followers.
John C. Maxwell’s has written a book by the same title. “Failing Forward” talks also about using mistakes to make ourselves better. He writes:
One of the greatest problems people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge isolated situations in their lives and label them as failures. Instead, they need to keep the bigger picture in mind. [A successful baseball player] doesn’t look at an out that he makes and think of failure. He sees it within the context of the bigger picture. His perspective leads to perseverance.
So how can we see our FAILURES in new ways? How can even our greatest struggles be tools that can cause us to Fail FORWARD… even offering HOPE for the future?
1. See our lives as a journey… an ongoing work of redemption. Our salvation is sealed by the work of the Holy Spirit, experience of Christ’s forgiving work. And it is an ongoing, refining work that shapes our character. >> Daily imbed yourself in the message of The Cross.
2. Pay attention to all of our lives; both that which you and I are proud of and that which we have sought to forget. Lessons from both of those moments have shaped who you are, and what’s important today. >> Chronicle Your Story and create a Time-line.
3. Ask yourself two questions; based on all of my life to date, what deposits or gifts has God entrusted to me, even by way of my pain. Another way of saying it might be this: From my past, “what do I dare not forget,” and “what are the things I dare not repeat?” >> Compile your lessons around each chapter of your life.
4. Based upon these life lessons, take a run at brainstorming a list of your core values; those things that have become nonnegotiable for you reflecting how God wants you to live. From your list, see if you can boil these down to 4-6 core values that are the by-product of these lessons. >> Draft Your Core Values
None of us want, or plan to fail. Failing is one thing… FAILING FORWARD is another.
Harvest your lessons… clarify your core values… allow the Holy Spirit to redeem your past story (high-lights and low-lights), turning these life entrustments into signposts to guide you the future!
© Terry Walling 2013