The Gift of Failure (revised)

Failure is a gift from God.. And the longer I live and journey, the more I realize I need spirituality to teach me that truth for it seems religion only speaks to the shame of failure and not to its Giftedness.

Spirituality teaches us how to deal with, and accept, failure as a gift and a needed tool for our journey with (and towards) God.  Failure is the twin sister of ‘success’, much the way doubt and faith are inseparably linked.

One of the foundational ‘tenets’ of Alcoholics Anonymous states that the journey of sobriety is about “progress not perfection…[for] we are not saints.”  Imperfection and failure are two of the tools God uses to draw me in closer; for by embracing imperfection and failure, I am reminded of the glorious truth that I am indeed human and I remember that all of us were created in the image and likeness of God.  In my being human, nothing is drawn away from God and his relentless love, in fact, I find that if I embrace that truth, I am more so fully alive.

My failures prove only that I am not a saint, they do not take away from any goodness that God has placed within me.  I am fond of saying if there is anything in me you find good, then you can give thanks to God and my mother, but if you find anything in me that is not good, well for that I apologize.

As I look over my life I see a wreckage of pain, failure and broken hearts and trust strewn across the path.  I feel regret, and rue some of the poorer choices I have made.  But God is eternally good, forgiving and loving so that in his hands my past wreckage becomes malleable clay to be remolded into a shining example of divine love blended with my utter humanity.

And like or not, that is indeed good news.

I am but a jar of clay, cracked but valuable when surrendered fully into God’s hands.  My failures become familiar scars, gentle reminders of the power of forgiveness and choice all held by the urgent compassion of God.

Here is the point of this and what makes it a Gift is that God does not judge my failures; only I and other people do that.  God’s love is a merciful cauldron burning away the dross of my failures turning them instead into divine gifts meant for service, compassion, healing and justice.

God’s grace is greater than any failure I have ever done or experienced.  God’s love is greater than any human perspective, judgment, religion, or persuasion.  In truth, God embraces my failures as a vital part of me and my journey back Home to him.  And if God embraces my failures, I can do no less.

So today, I embrace all my failures – all of me, surrendering them over to the hands of God, asking not for them to be removed but rather to be transformed into the living gifts of a merciful God.

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