Friday, January 29, 2010

Can Failure Lead to Happiness?

I was struck by the words of Ephesians 2:10 last weekend. It was the featured verse at a weekend retreat for women from our church. The same passage is what I had chosen on New Year's Eve as my prayer for 2010:

Image Source: R. Bowman

I am still in the process of absorbing the truths in that verse. For most of my life it has been success that motivates me. When I succeed, I feel good about life. My faulty way of thinking goes something like this:

"If I could just _______, then I'd be happy."

  • be on time
  • get the house clean
  • enjoy more time outside
  • see that person I've been meaning to call
  • etc., etc...

The last few weeks in particular I have been failing spectacularly--and often. Doing things my way and striving to succeed isn't working. Yet when I look back into the past, I see many points at which God used failure to redirect me to something better and more fulfilling.

After a failed college choir audition, I wound up joining another group, where I learned the gospel song "Through God's Eyes". Some of the words I remember are:

If I looked at myself through God's eyes,
would the reflection I see be like Christ?
If I looked into God's eyes to see myself,
would his love and joy be flowing through my life?

...I want to walk hand in hand with You,
so that you can show me what I must do.
If I looked through God's eyes,
what would I see?

The undeserved blessings of my husband and children, my years learning about authentic worship--these I would not trade for any of my former ambitions. Nevertheless, I still get caught up in the quest for success. I pin my hopes on what I want to accomplish in a day, rather than asking God to "show me what I must do." How silly. He's already prepared the good works for me.

Instead of just trying to cross things off my to-do list, I need to inquire of God what he has prepared for me each day. Our agendas might might differ sharply or have much in common. But I'll never know (and have peace about my choices) if I don't ask.


The Queen Mommy said...

Oh wow - I was listening to one of my college course lectures this week and it talked exactly about this same thing. How FAILURE opens up doors for God to teach us and grow us and move us. And BLESS us. I love it when God speaks to many different people about the same thing at the same time. It's like a heavenly newsletter...

carikaufm said...

A heavenly newsletter...that is perfect! Thank you for this post! Beautiful and exactly what I needed today!

Anonymous said...

I think many of the things on my to-do list is for myself (and our family and home of course), but I feel like I need more often to pray over what God wants me to do...whether it's something small or something big. In His leading, I think we'll find more joy in what we do, and find strength to do more than what we hope for.

Lea said...

I'm so glad I dropped by your blog today, what a blessing!! Very powerful!

dawn said...

I pin my hopes on what I accomplish in a day...I love that! That is so me. Great insight in this post!

One More Equals Four said...

very true! It is so easy to find our worth or approval in works and accomplishments. But, praise God, He just wants us. Our love, our devotion, our obedience. Doing what HE wants not what we expect of ourselves!

Great post!

Rachel Anne said...

Man, what a loaded post! You really nailed it! Thank you so much for's just what I needed to remind me to look for what god wants me to accomplish in a day rather than the "success" of crossing my own things off my list.

Cathy said...

! That was a great post! Thank you! Just a slight tweak in the way we view something can make all the difference. I want this year to be more about my gracious God and much much less about me! Beginning each day with that thought of "What do you want me to do LORD?" is the key.
Thanks for the blessing.
Have a great week!