I don’t know about you, but I love being recognized for good work. And through school, college, and internships, I received such accolades often. But since becoming a real grown-up about a decade ago, I haven’t received any accolades whatsoever.
Related Post: Embracing the “Not Yet”
That’s being melodramatic. I admit to that. Nevertheless, I’ve felt like an utter failure. Was I not working hard often? Not being innovative often? Not serving stakeholders well? All those harsh criticisms rolled around in my head for years.
How to Healthily Deal with Failure
My perceived failure came to a culmination when I applied for a local region-wide leadership program five years ago. I was so sure I’d be accepted that I never prepared for rejection. As fate would have it, I got rejected. I felt like my whole world fell apart.
From that point forward, I just decided not to worry about recognition. I wasn’t at peace though. Instead, I was despondent. I stayed this way for about year until I was exposed to the following verse:
Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (ESV)
Upon taking that verse to heart, I became a changed man. I stopped worrying about success or failure. And instead, I started spending my time truly serving people instead of constantly focusing on myself.
Surprising Realization about Failure
I didn’t notice at the time, but that change of focus started reaping the recognition that I had been longing for. In fact, I started receiving accolades I wasn’t even aware existed until I stopped being myopic and self-centered.
And that region-wide leadership program that I got rejected from five years ago? Well, I applied again this year and genuinely put the outcome in God’s hands. After weeks of not hearing anything, I got word a few days ago that I got in. I really got in.
Summary and Application
Does my life sound a bit like yours? Whether you’re hoping for a promotion, a raise, a better office, or a coveted award, pause for a moment and reevaluate why you want those things. Ponder who you’re going to blame when you don’t get those things. And better yet, think about who you’re going to praise when you receive the things you want.
Let my life be a lesson for you. Praise the Lord when fruit arrives aplenty and praise Him even when there’s no fruit to be found. Put your trust in God and let Him handle the results.