“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill
I heard the coolest analogy the other day…
Picture a baby who is learning to walk. When that baby takes their first steps, they are almost guaranteed to fall right on their bums. Probably more than once, too. Now picture the parents. What is their reaction when their child takes a few steps and then falls? Do they yell at the baby or reprimand their child for falling? Do they tell the child how disappointed they are—that the kid failed to take more steps and walk properly? Do they give up and say, “forget it, you’ll never walk…I quit?”
No freaking way.
The parents would whip out their cell phones and call every single family member on the planet to share the good news of those first steps. They would hastily pick up their baby, wrap the child in their arms, and rejoice over that sweet moment. They would become filled with joy and pride that their little chubby-cheeked kid was able to take a step forward, even though that same chubby-cheeked kid fell right on their bum seconds later (more than once).
Well, guess what…
We are God’s chubby-cheeked kids, and when we take a step forward—even if it’s only a tiny baby step followed by a stumble—He rejoices. He laughs and smiles and sings over us when He sees that our heart’s desire is to please Him. He doesn’t condemn or rebuke, He encourages and comforts. When we fall on our bums (or on our faces), He lifts us up and wraps us in His big and strong and heavenly arms.
I am my own worst enemy, so when I try to take a step and then fail, I have a tendency to get really disheartened. I worry that God will be upset with me for failing, and I worry that He will be disappointed in my stumbling. But what I don’t do in that moment of failure… is remember that the Lord considers me to be His precious little one. I forget that I am loved unconditionally for who I am and not for what I do. I forget that I am accepted and welcomed into His family because of Christ’s sacrifice for me. And that truth will always trump how I may feel.
I mean, honestly… ask my Dad. (By the way, have you guys met my Dad? He’s awesome, he’s incredible at soccer, and he has a knack for grilling the perfect steak. He also tells great jokes even though my mom doesn’t think he’s funny. I had to take this quick opportunity to gush on him because I don’t do it enough. Dad, if you’re reading this… I love you.) Anyways, my Dad has tons of footage on his video camera of me doing dumb things as a kid. Mostly, it’s video clips of me at birthday parties and Christmas dinners doing mean things to my little sister (sorry Melis), but that’s not the point. My dad was proud of me, and he wanted to make sure that he recorded all of those sweet little moments on camera. As small and as insignificant as those moments may seem now, they meant something to him. Despite all the times I threw broccoli across the dinner table, and pushed my sister off the swing-set, I brought my parents so much joy. And they wanted to make sure that I always knew that to be true.
The same goes for God. When He see’s us wanting to move forward in faith, He becomes overjoyed. And when we stumble, He is right there to pick us back up so we can try another time. No rejection. No condemnation. No judgement. Just His unfailing love and mercy.
Moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to fall (or fail) because your Heavenly Father is for you and not against you, He will be there every step of the way—guiding your steps and holding you up.
I want to end with a few encouraging scriptures—these have been gems for when I get discouraged, so I hope you can find some encouragement from them as well!
2 Corinthians 3:18 (MSG) – “…And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”
Psalm 37:27 – “Though he stumbles, he will not fall down flat, for the LORD will hold up his hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) – “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”