Friday, December 10, 2010

Fall Forward

“When at first you don’t succeed, try ‘try again’.” Common quote. Profound truism.

I’ve tried again a lot. And again. And a lot. Lately, I find that I am disappointed in the steps I’m taking. Am I on the right path? Hope so. I don’t think God would lead me somewhere He didn’t intend for me to go. Even if I stumble. And fall. Or fail.

I hold myself responsible for my failures. But it is in my failures that the thought of being defeated makes me work harder to overcome them. To move forward. Hence, the “try again.”

Everyone fails at one time or another. My failing experience has been a humbling one. Mostly because I was too busy riding my own personal high to stop and appreciate the lessons that helped me along the way. I forgot the people who carried me when I was weak…encouraged me when I doubted…caught me when I fell.

When we spend our time in the limelight, we are sometimes blinded by the glamour and promise of possibilities. Personally, I find that I get caught up in it from time to time, and begin to lose sight of the practical side of veracity. However, if that light shines on us long enough, we are forced to take a good, long look at ourselves – the mirror from which we cannot hide. The one that illuminates every imperfection, and magnifies every fault. Try as we may, the longer we look at those reflections, the fewer flaws we see. If we choose to see ourselves as God sees us, then we only see beauty. The shapes and distinguishing features blend together, producing a collage of value and worth.

Still, the imperfections and flaws are there; they are what make us unique. And real. And human.

Do I want to be perfect? No. Why would I want to subject myself to unfair expectations? Why would I want to paint myself in an unrealistic light? My lack of perfection enables me to keep trying. I take comfort in the fact that when I fail, no one notices but me. I don’t want a perfect existence. I want to hurt, and ache, and make mistakes, and make memories, and smile, and laugh, and love, and ride the roller coaster, and fly.

Will I fail sometimes? Undoubtedly. But that failure leaves me with a chance to do it all over again. A chance to fall forward.

So, why are we so hard on ourselves when we fail? We can’t win all the time. For every situation in life – be it a race, a job interview, a personal struggle – someone has to come in last. But being last is not always a bad place to be. Being last allows us to see what’s up ahead in the race. We get a hindsight view of those ahead of us who are creating a path for us to tread on with more ease. It is an opportunity to learn. And rest assured, even those last in the race have followers. It’s just not their time to run yet.

At the fear of failing, do we abandon our dreams? Do we stifle the yearning inside us because we are afraid of rejection? The only restrictions are those we place on ourselves. If we refuse to look beyond our own imaginations, and push our own boundaries, then we will never achieve the things of which we are capable. The things created to drive us to be extraordinary. No one is a failure in the eyes of God. He didn’t create us to fail, as we were created in His image. I can’t envision a more prolific opposite of failure than that.

Time to tighten up my laces and brave the dark and winding road again. My moment is still out there. I refuse to stop until I find it. With God as my guide, I may fall, but I will not fail.

It is in our darkest moments, that the dimmest light can sometimes produce a tenfold of hope. Hope leads to perseverance. Perseverance leads to self-discovery. Self-discovery leads to strength. And strength teaches us to reach into the depths of our characters to try again.

It is those moments when we try, that define us. We become more than human. We shed our own limitations, and become champions of our own souls.

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