I thought that I would do something creative for my son’s birthday present this year. I had envisioned several complimentary tissue papers wrapping the gift and enough extra to tie into a puffy top. It started out as a good idea, it might well have lived up to my vision for it, if there had only been less box and more paper.
I tend to beat myself up when things that matter to me fail. I’ve appreciated John Maxwell’s insight on failure. In his book “Failing Forward, How to Make the Most of your Mistakes” he describes how our biggest battles with failure are on the inside. “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.” He goes on to say that, “God uses people who fail—’cause there aren’t any other kind around.”
At those moments when we are beating ourselves up, when our self-talk is negative, we see only our flaws and are unable to see any good we’ve done . . . The scripture reminds us that we are a work in progress. We are people on the way, not the way. There is one Christ and we are not the one.
The apostle Paul writing to the people in Philippi encouraged the new Christians there with these words, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
We may fail wretchedly in life, but God continues to build us up. It is God’s joy to fulfill the good work started in us. God is not out to knock people down or to condemn, but to complete the work started already. God is in the building up business when we fail or fall short, when we despair over ourselves . . . when we blunder mightily or feel defeated in life. We are unfinished people. God loves us in our fragility, woundedness, in the midst of our dysfunctional behavior our vulnerabilities and everything else. God loves us when we are at our worst and at our very best. Because, God’s love is never ending.
“And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11