Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Failure

I did an exam a few weeks ago and last week I was anxious about the results. It's part of getting my professional specialty qualifications. And it's work that I have found myself pretty suited to.

Before I went interstate to do the exam a kind, faithful man said, that because God was calling me into this particular work, the exams would go smoothly for me. He wanted to reassure me and help me not to worry.

I wish he was right. If only faithfulness or obedience, or even just a desire to be good, were enougn to make life smooth. If only God's call or blessing would guarantee a straight and comfortable path. But that's not what I look around and see.

What if God wants me to get through this exam, but he wants me to learn from the steps I take to get there? What if I haven't studied hard enough? Or if I have a difficult day? Is there a way for me to even know what God wants in regard to an exam or a choice of profession?

I wished my friend was right.

When the results came and I had passed one exam and failed the other, I really, really wished my friend had been right. I can reply to him that even if I don't pass I'll trust that God will look after me. But can I live it?

Can I put aside the embarrassment or disappointment of failing and get up and try again? Can I persevere and study, again, all those papers I was looking forward to shredding? Can I walk into the exam and be confident of passing when the possibility of failure is now more real?

Part of me would just like to go and do something else. And I know this will take energy and effort to stick at what I have set out to do. I need help to stay faithful to this.

I have the relief of knowing that this is not a right or wrong decision. I could walk away and it would not be wrong. But I think about people facing all sorts of roadbumps in their plans and having to persevere, because they know it is the right thing to do. It is human to want to give up in the face of struggle or failure. In the face of loss or betrayal or deep fear of the future. Especially when our hope of success or change falters. When we lose hope, the journey becomes so much steeper and rockier.

I see, in my current roadbump, that I will not be able to persevere without knowing grace and finding strength in God. I struggle to pull myself up by my own bootstraps and I need help. The moment hope has flamed for me, I was realising I don't need to find all strength within me.

I wish I didn't need failure to be reminded of my inner depletion. That I am insufficient in myself. But the deepest surge of joy and life within me came with remembering that God is longing to be my sufficiency. He delights in me remembering that.

Sharing with Emily,

3 comments:

Jenny said...

O Kath - I feel for you. So disappointing and that's hard. Hard to see how God is going to use this experience when you felt it was the right thing to do.

Kath said...

Thanks for your kind words Jenny. It just makes me realise I often know the 'right' answers but it's always harder to live it out - especially perseverence and real trust.

emily wierenga said...

oh my dear friend, i'm sorry you had to go through this. i hate failing. i really do. but you're right: it's always good for knowing where true worth comes from. and you are worth so very much kath. love you.