What Has Failure Taught You?

Much of the wisdom I have in life (not much, but the little I have) was learned by a mistake or hard circumstance in my life. I have learned a lot from failure and that experience has been used so many times to help others who are staring at failure. (2 Cor 1:3-7)

What are some lessons you have learned from failure? Are you allowing God to use the low points in your life to help others with their struggles?

I recently read these tips for dealing with failure in a FORTUNE Magazine article (June 9, 2008). These are worth repeating. (The article point in bold is from the article. Comments after are mine.)

1. Keep taking risks. Don’t give up just because you have failed. We all fail.

2. Don’t let the doubters get you down. Someone is always going to try and steal your joy. Many people love to kick you when you’re down.

3. Seek a purpose. We should never, ever, ever, stop dreaming. Have something to aim for and pour your best energy into it. (Obviously family and relationships should be tops on your purpose list.)

4. Visualize your next big win. Winners think like winners. Don’t let losing keep you from anticipating a big win. The mental attitude you bring to the game is 1/2 the battle.

5. Learn from your mistakes. Many people credit failure as the thing that drove them to seek more success. Failure, if you allow it to, can be your best friend by causing you to work harder, take a new risk, or go in a direction you might never have pursued.

6. Remember: Failure can be temporary. The best of the best have had tremendous times of failure. Research people like Abraham Lincoln and you’ll find many failures before they stumbled on great success.

Your road to great victory may be through failing greatly!

How I Got Hit by a Car Today

We are not in a good city for running. Most roads are too narrow and we have few sidewalks or running trails. I run down a main road near my house that does have a sidewalk. Cheryl likes that because she feels I’m safer. The problem on the main road is that cars are constantly pulling in and out of businesses along the busy stretch of road.

Today I was approaching a business entrance and a jeep was pulling out. The driver was on her cell phone but at the time couldn’t pull out because of heavy traffic. I thought we made eye contact, so I went to run in front of her. About that time an oncoming car turned on his blinker to turn into the same business entrance. When the jeep saw the blinker she took off quickly (The kind of take-off that would normally squeal tires) to pull in front of the other traffic. The only problem was that I was now in front of her car.

It all happened so fast, but basically as the car went to hit me I jumped up and towards the hood of the car. I don’t know what motivated me to do so, but had I not I would have been knocked backwards into oncoming traffic or run over by the jeep. As I landed on the hood of the jeep I obviously scared the driver half to death. She slammed on her breaks, I jumped off, stumbling to my feet and twisting my ankle, but I was able to somehow keep going.

I never stopped and neither did she. I’m sore tonight with a slight headache, but otherwise seem to be okay.

Invest, Invite, Inquire

I shared this challenge with our staff this week. I’m going to try to follow it myself.

This week try to:

Try to invest in at least one person in your ministry to help them be a better person.

Ask one person (maybe more) to join you in your work.

Try to make one network connection with someone who does what you do, does it well, has been doing it longer, and is in a place where you could grow or get better at what you do by knowing them. I usually find these type connections online. Find a like-minded church in the area and, if possible, meet these people for lunch occasionally, but this type thing works if even by email or phone.

If you choose to accept this challenge I guarantee it to change your life dramatically for the good. Just kidding, but it might help. Does me.

If Patience is a Fruit…Where’s mine?

I’m not the most patient person. In fact, I’m not very patient at all. Yesterday my patience was tested; and, for the most part…my patience failed. The trip home from DC took far longer than it should; in many ways we wasted a whole day; I got to do very little of the things I love to do in DC (It’s one of my favorite cities); and it was an expensive process.

So what did I learn? Reflecting on the experience today, as I sit calmly on my back patio, listening to the birds peacefully chirping; drinking some of the best coffee in the world; I learned that losing my patience yesterday was probably the biggest setback of the day. The inconveniences of traffic, lost wallets, and the waitress who forgot our food order making us almost late for the plane, probably were not huge deals in the scheme of my life. I have certainly had worse days. The fact that I was spending those moments with my near 17 year old son, who has a crazy summer starting tomorrow and this year enters his last year of high school and then will move away, should have been enough for me to enjoy the journey and time with him.

Hey, I’m only 44…. Who would have expected me to learn these things so soon in life? Perhaps with the grandchildren….

Moving People

I see my role as a person who moves people. Reading Ephesians 2 this morning I was reminded that I’m responsible for moving people from death to life. I understand that’s mostly referring to salvation, but I think it’s also referring to life. Sometimes I live more like a child of the world than a child of the person of God. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

So, my questions for today:

Am I “living” the full life of Christ?

Who am I helping today to move from death to life?

I think I need to be more intentional in that effort.

Next level thinking

We are at a new stage in the life of Grace Community Church. We hit the 1000 mark most every week now, but what's next. I'm not sure what got us to this 1000 people a week will get us to the next 1000. We need fresh ideas; new approaches.

Thankfully our vision and the basis of our truth stays constant.
Ron Edmondson
Grace Community Church