Has YOUR failure ever turned into someone else’s success?
Have you ever tried to run a marathon and failed to finish, but the very fact that you tried, inspired others to start getting physically active?
Have you ever pushed to get a promotion, only to have someone come in along side you and say, “If YOU can make that much money, I can too.” You actually don’t get that promotion, but the other person does? Somehow what turned out to be your failure, turned into their success.
Ever since, we adopted, I’ve seen this effect in play SO many times. We have 7 children in all now. When one of them makes a good decision, it clearly has a ripple effect on the other six. When one of them makes a bad decision, the others relax because they feel as if the bar has been lowered.
My children, can even affect my husband and me. Their positive actions challenge us to do better, to strive harder, to make sure we’re taking the lead as positive role models in our children’s lives.
A small example of this, was when our 21 year old came in from a run last night. She doesn’t run on a regular basis, so we definitely took notice when she came in all sweaty with her gym clothes on. My husband sat there for a few minutes, and said, “Ndolo, if you can do it, I can do it.” So he asked if I wanted to go out and run. I opted to stay comfortably on the couch. But then, my husband came inside all sweaty too. There was a certain bounce in his step that said, “I just did something good for myself.” Five minutes later, I got up, put my exercise clothes on, laced up my tennis shoes, emerged from the bedroom and said, “If you did it, I can certainly do it too!”
All of this, based on ONE person’s SINGLE decision to go out and run.
Another larger example of this is when I recently applied for a fairly good paying job that was significantly out of my comfort zone. When I got to the third and final interview, my husband publicly announced that if I make THAT much, he should be making more. So he applied for a few jobs. Oddly enough, he ended up getting a phone interview at the SAME place where I applied. They didn’t even call him in for an in-person interview and yesterday was his FIRST day, making a 50% increase in salary. (O.k. maybe we’re just a competitive family?)
Long story short, I did not get the job.
But my efforts, inspired my husband’s actions.
What turned out to be my failure, inspired my husband to success.
(On a side note, I was disappointed that I did not get the job, but I’m thankful for the insight into the power of our actions, EVEN when they don’t turn out to benefit US directly.)
What about you? Maybe you try to be a better Christian. Maybe you work really hard to be an example of Christ. Perhaps everyday you try to help someone who is down and out. Maybe you try really hard to keep your life pure and free of temptation. Maybe you’ve fallen. It could be that you consider yourself to be a miserable failure spiritually.
Sometimes, I worry about what “unbelievers” think of me and I feel like a fraud, because I keep failing. My life is not a victory. They see me fall. They see me get angry with my children and nurture roots of bitterness. They hear me talk about God’s love, but sometimes they see me mistreating my neighbor. And I think about giving up. “I’m failing at this thing.” “Why am I even trying?” “Is this path that I’m on, really even a path to ANYWHERE?” “I’m knocking, but someone keeps slamming the door shut in my face.”
I wonder if perhaps I’m doing more harm than good, when I share my faith with my children, yet turn around and undo all my words with my actions.
But, just maybe, my spiritual failures are inspiring someone else to spiritual “success.” Maybe the fact that they see me “trying” to do right, will actually inspire them to try too. And maybe they will make it to the finish line!
- Christian Parenting, Part 1: Are we putting too much pressure on our kids and ourselves? (baileysbelljar.wordpress.com)
- Man-Up & Lead Your Family (aronkirk.com)