Do you want to know the secret to deepening your relationship with God? What if I told you that the secret was failure? I have failed. I have failed more than a dozen exams, a handful of classes, and various projects. I’ve failed as a student. I have let people down as a leader. I have failed my friends and family. And I have failed more times than I can count. But, here I am. I am still alive and persevering. I have learned, grown, and seasoned on this arduous adventure.
If I’m frank about the matter, when God made it clear what my path was in life, I had no clue what it would take out of me.
As a young 19-year-old, I was naive and optimistic, driven by a passion and zeal for God. Years later, I am far less naive, cautiously optimistic, and driven by… love for God. As the years pass, passion and zeal give way to a stalwart love; A love that is solid in its foundation – you’d have an easier time moving a mountain.
As I reflect on the past years of my walk, I look back at the decisions I’ve made, and I see many decisions for God – sprinkled with some foolish decisions that were against God. This was the path to “Finding My Why,” finding out why I put myself through this, why I subject myself to consistent and un-relinquishing failure. Finding My why is the best thing that ever happened to me because it made me decide; every failure led to a feeling of emptiness inside of me and a choice. The choice was simple, what do you want to fill that void with, Stuart? Do you choose to fill it with God, or do you choose it with superficial things – in my case, guns, shooting competitions, hunting, music, food, beer, or motorcycles?
How to fill the void isn’t always an obvious choice.
I walked out of a Fluids exam in the past, and I remember feeling as though my mid-60’s, slightly crazy professor had just ripped my heart out. Leading up to that exam, I’d done every single recommended homework problem I could. I read the book twice. The week of the exam, I studied for twenty hours. I invested my heart and soul into that exam. After I walked out of the exam, knowing that I had failed and would have to drop the class (I got a 29, the class average was a 35), I felt a rush of terrible emotions that I had never experienced before. The feelings of inadequacy, depression, and disappointment created a pit within me.
I wish I could say that I chose to worship God at that moment, but I didn’t.
Instead, I chose to leave town to attend and help with a wedding, hoping to find happiness. I came home exhausted and depressed. That was a valuable (and painful) learning experience, and yet to this day, I have not fully learned this lesson. Men are stubborn and prideful like that. Your “Why?” is found when you realize everything you do in this life is to serve God’s master plan. A plan which stretches for thousands of years. Through this daunting trial of life, we constantly have choices. Choices that amount to nearly every problem and every solution in this world. What will you do when you feel empty? Will you pursue God and fill your void with his presence, or will you fill it with other superfluous pleasures?
Related Post: Are you in a difficult season of life?
Every day, people choose to fill their void with the world.
Look at the way our world works; people mend breakups by going out and “rebounds.” Rather than dealing with father issues, young men assert their masculinity by breaking the hearts of women. To cope with the void, young women everywhere turn to social media for a bit of temporary affirmation. If this is hitting close to home, I’m sorry. Just kidding, I’m not sorry about that. Just know that you are a great person and that the love and grace that God has for you is so much larger, even better than the notebook (which I’ve never seen). No man, woman, or item can ever fill that pit.
It is in these difficult times in life that you find your why.
When you have to look deep within yourself, when you want to quit, when you feel inadequate, when you give everything, yet you fail. You still choose to listen to worship music, watch a sermon, and read your bible. If you are going through this right now, you are in the process of finding your why. Your why could be spiritual. It could be for your family. It could be the community you serve. Failure is not necessarily a sign that your anointing has left you. It could be a sign that your anointing is upon you. Find your why, dig deep, press into God, and push forward. I leave you with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt, who said it best in a speech he gave called “The Man In The Arena.”
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”