I saw two amazing statements quoted on social media this week. Here’s the first:
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
Few people in the last century had the ability to express profound truth more clearly than C.S.Lewis, and this statement proves it.
People make two mistakes in relation to past failures. The first is refusing to admit they failed at all, papering over their issues with other peoples’ alleged shortcomings, and moving on fearlessly to new failures in the future. And they succeed in reaching their goal.
The other is heaping abuse on themselves for being a total failure, sinking into despair and launching into the future with about as much enthusiasm as a bleeding man jumping into a shark tank. And of course failure strikes again.
Lewis was trying to teach us a far better approach. We do have to take inventory of where we have missed the mark, but there’s no point moaning over what we can’t change. Instead, let’s figure out honestly where we went wrong and learn from our mistakes. But tomorrow is a new day. If we’ve learned from the past, there’s no reason we have to repeat it.
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Positive thinking will get you nowhere. I do believe in asking God’s help for a fresh start. The good news is we can do that any day of the year, but why not at the beginning of a new year? It’s as good a time as any.
Now here’s the second quotation:
"I'm not afraid of failure. I'm afraid of succeeding at something that doesn't really matter.”
That’s from the great missionary statesman William Carey. It struck me quite powerfully. If you figure out from C.S. Lewis how to learn from failure and move on, why would you be afraid of future failures? Most of the things we learn are from our past failures anyway. Failure is in truth the gateway to success. It’s only when our ego and our false definitions of success get in the way that we can’t see it.
From God’s perspective, failure is inevitable in the pursuit of success. Jesus made that point at Calvary.
Most of us worry way too much about failure. We set ourselves up for failure by defining success incorrectly. Success is doing God’s will. Godly success may look like worldly failure. But the reverse is also true. There’s a ton of people who have worldly success who will wind up in hell. Success is taking what God has given you and making of it something glorifying to him.
Peter got out of the boat, walked on water then began to sink. If Peter had been afraid of failure, he would never have stepped out of the boat in the first place. If he had got stuck in past failures, after this he would never have stepped out in faith again. But neither of those things happened, for he had learned to listen to the same voice that spoke also to William Carey and C.S. Lewis. And still speaks to us today.
So, my fellow failures, let’s learn from the past, put it behind us, and step out boldly in glorious new adventures for God.
Welcome to 2019.
CONSIDER PARTNERING WITH DAVID & ELAINE CAMPBELL IN HELPING TO SUSTAIN THEIR ACTIVE MINISTRY.
AWAKENING MINISTRIES // FOUNDATION of FAITH Project
Foundation of Faith Project is strengthening generations in faith and bringing beautiful changes to the communities around them. Through teaching, mentoring and coaching, many are finding out who they are and who they are destined to be. They are bringing more to their world. David Campbell is the key leader in this initiative and you can support him financially directly through Awakening Ministries.
When making a donation, please follow these steps:
1. Click the donate button below
2. Enter the amount you wish to donate and choose "Paypal" or "Credit Card"
3. On the next page, in the "Add a note" field, please mark the donation for "Foundation of Faith"
For those in the UK, you may also support us through Emmanuel Church Durham, which receives and passes on any financial gifts designated to us. You are welcome to contact Jenny, the church treasurer, at email@example.com, and she will be glad to let you know how you can support us on a once-off basis or by standing order.