Failure is NOT an Option

13 Sep

As my first post for this blog I thought it necessary and beneficial to lay some groundwork as well as clear the air. I want to make it clear to all our readers that failure is not an option. I think that it’s only honest to let you know that I’m talking about all kinds of failure here. Moral failure, physical failure, spiritual failure, grammatical failure, philosophical failure, etc… etc… etc… In your comments to our posts, in your daily life, and even in your drive through orders at McDonalds – Failure is simply not an option – It’s a requirement.

One of the most liberating statements that I heard during my journey through Bible College was that failure was a requirement. We, as fallen individuals, will fail. There is no way around it and that’s okay. I had spent the majority of my life fighting failure. I spent countless hours working to avoid failing a test, a relationship, a moral conviction, and especially my parents. And I spent countless more hours lost in grief because I had failed at not failing.

Hearing that failure was a requirement and realizing that this concept wasn’t new revelation but that it was the foundation of the gospel was a breath of fresh air. Scripture had been trying to get this through my brain for years. “All fall short of the glory of God”, “There is no one righteous, no not one”. Scripture had told me that I was a failure from the beginning and I had ignored it. Now don’t accuse me of being a Calvinist yet. This post is not my stance on Total Depravity. I had ignored the fact that I was destined to fail but I had also ignored the magical, brilliantly beautiful, gospel truth that failure was okay. That it was covered by Christ’s blood.

This renewed realization of the simple rudiments of the gospel changed my life, ministry, parenting philosophy, and self-esteem. It gave me freedom to fail and then learn from that failure rather than wallowing in self-pity and grief until the shame cycle drove me back to the same failure that had started the whole process. Now, instead of surprised or disappointed by my own failure, I almost get excited because I know God is and will continue to use failure in my life to teach me and mold me into the person he wants me to be. You see we often learn more from our failures than from our successes. As frustrating and counterproductive as that may seem on the surface it’s true.


Batman Begins

Image via Wikipedia


In the last couple of years I’ve adopted this phrase in my home, in my ministry and even with my peers. Failure is a requirement of life. When students in my ministry fail morally or spiritually, I jump at the opportunity to encourage them and teach them to grow through failure rather than be controlled by it. When friends fail I do everything that I can to be the one that is there to dust them off, pick them up and send them on their way. In the movie “Batman Begins“, Bruce Wayne continually remembers a quote from his childhood that His father had told him; “And why do we fall, Bruce?… So we can learn to pick ourselves up” (I bet when you started reading this you didn’t realize that Batman’s father and I are super close and have the same parenting philosophy.)So… as you continue to read this blog, as I hope you do. And as you continue on your own journey through life, always remember that Failure is never merely an option… It is a requirement.



Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Failure, Philosophy, Religion


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Failure is NOT an Option

  1. stayingalivemoma

    September 13, 2011 at 9:02 am

    you are off to a great start. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started reading it, but you really know how to pull the reader in and make them think. Great job!

    • James

      September 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      Thanks so much for the feedback. I really appreciate it. Stay tuned for upcoming posts as well. We are still trying to get everything up and running but once we get established our goal is to post at least once a week.

  2. Kevin Mullarkey

    September 13, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. I’ve heard this before, but I find it hard to believe at times. I quit my job at my last church in part because I was sick of being vehemently screamed at by my boss for failing at things I wasn’t even aware I was in charge of (it’s not like communication is important or anything…). He told me I wasn’t good enough to work in a church, which was morbidly humorous since I had previously shared with him that I had lived my whole life fearing I wasn’t good enough for God. He was right in a way though; I’m not good enough for God–no one is. But freedom is found when we accept that fact and stop trying to be good enough….and allow Christ to be enough. God does not sit back and wait for us to reach a certain point of “goodness” before He can use us. Look through the Bible and you will see lots of examples of broken people being used by God in mighty ways. For He did not come to save the righteous, but sinners.

    Thanks for the encouragement and keep up the good work!

    • James

      September 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm

      Hey Kevin,
      I wish I could say that I’d never heard a story like yours but it would be a lie. The sad truth is that this type of interaction between God’s people tends to be the rule rather than the exception. The good news is that failure IS a requirement and the freedom that is felt when that concept is fully realized is absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. Glad that you were encouraged. Stop by again soon.


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