“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Have you ever had one of those days that you could label, “epic fail”? I do. In fact, it happens quite frequently. It usually looks something like this:
First, something ‘good’ happens. Yep, my failures always come after a success. For example, the other week on vacation, I had one of my best workouts in months! I was feeling strong, confident, and on top of the world. Later that day, however, I experienced an ‘epic fail’ when I had to crawl down a rocky summit backwards without getting all the way to the top. It was a big, “whah whah” for the day. I went from feeling invincible to insignificant…from strong to weak, from Fit to Fail.
But something really cool happened that day. In my feelings of weakness and failure, God was ‘working out’ something in my heart. He used that experience, those activities, to train me to remember from where my true strength comes. I was boasting (even if only in my head) about my success that day and beating myself up that evening because of the missed summit all because I believed that my strength, my value, my worth, was based on my performance. The truth is that God, through His Son, gives me strength, to do all things–for His glory, not my own. Of course I can’t be sure of God’s plan for me that day, but I wonder if my ‘fail’ on the climb had something to do with my earlier ‘fail’–the one where I forgot to thank him for the strength, the circumstances, and the ability to complete my ‘epic’ workout.
This failure, and the realization that I had misaligned the praise for my success, allowed me to gain strength spiritually. Since vacation, I have needed it. I have had many days that could be labeled ‘epic fails,’ but in thinking about this, I have realized that God can, and will, use my failures for His ‘epic’ purposes. Throughout His Word, God repeatedly works in the failures of His people to bring about His successes. He uses His strength in our weakness to build His kingdom.
There’s a principle sometimes used in fitness called ‘training to failure.’ Here’s the nutshell version: “Training to failure means doing so many reps that you physically can’t complete any more. The objective is to induce the most possible muscle growth by pumping maximum blood to the area.” (mensfitness.com) In other words, doing until you can’t do more increases blood flow & oxygen which builds muscle. When the muscle fails, the blood responds, bringing oxygen that helps it to build and grow.
I feel like that is how God responds to our ‘fails’. He responds, or rather, He has already responded through the blood of His Son. It is through this that we are filled with the Holy Spirit- our strength-giving breath to help us grow in our faith.
I am still not a huge fan of failure, but I know that even when I experience those ‘epic fail’ moments: in fitness, in the workplace, in my marriage, and as a mom, God will ‘work out’ something good.
For all of us, He uses the ‘Fail’ to make us ‘Fit’- for Him, for His Work, for His Glory.