Why Failure Can Be a Positive


Photo by Sap Beast

We don’t often think of sharing our failures or our weaknesses do we? Why would we want to let others know we aren’t perfect? Even superheroes have weaknesses though. Superman couldn’t stand kryptonite. Green Lantern had no power against yellow. Daredevil was overwhelmed by loud noise.

There are several reasons to actually share our failures and weaknesses. First of all, it makes us human. None of us are perfect. We need to learn to accept that and allow others to see our humanness. It makes us real to them. It keeps us from seeming like we think we’re better than others. It keeps us humble.

Another reason to share is that others can learn through us. In the case of failures, it may prevent others from having to make the same mistakes that we did. Failure teaches us what doesn’t work and helps lead us toward what does.

Our weaknesses may help others to recognize similar issues in and around them. My wife had shared with a friend that I suffered from depression and that I was able to overcome it by talking with my doctor and finding the right medication. Later this friend was able to recognize the same symptoms in her husband. This helped her to deal with it better. If my wife hadn’t shared that with her, she might have struggled with the situation more and would not have been as sympathetic about the situation. It helped her to know she wasn’t the only one dealing with this.

By being open and honest with those around us, we can help them to grow and we can help ourselves to grow. It requires us to be humble and transparent, but it is who we truly are and there is never harm caused by being ourselves.

Just Another Vacation?

A home in a Costa Rican Barrio

Costa Rican Barrio

I was reading my mom’s cousin’s blog about a recent trip she took to Costa Rica as sponsor for the senior class at the Christian school she teaches at in Marion, Indiana. I thought that it would make a great topic for a blog on personal growth. Then today at church, we had a lady from Pioneer Bible Translators speak for our service and show slides and videos of people in the areas that they serve. It served to drive home the point to me.

I’ve been on three mission trips and have another planned for this summer. I’ve been to the Dominican Republic, Panama, and to a Native American reservation in South Dakota. Speaking from personal experience and from the comments that I have heard from many of the people that have been on mission trips, it is a life changing experience. You return unable to continue as the same person you were when you left.

What are the factors that contribute to this? I believe one of the primary factors is that it pulls you out of your comfort zone. You no longer have the people, places, and things that you turn to whenever things aren’t going as planned. You are stripped of this support system and have no where to turn but inward. It causes you to analyze yourself and to separate the things that are TRULY important from the unimportant. Seeing the conditions that many people in this world live in only serves to intensify the self analysis.

Paradoxically, being on a mission trip also pulls the attention OFF of ourselves. Your focus is totally on those you came to serve. At least to me, there is nothing more gratifying than serving someone for no other reason than that you can. And yet somehow, taking the focus off of ourselves causes us to see ourselves for who we really are.  This provides yet another opportunity for self analysis and the change that often comes with it.

So if you’ve never been on a mission trip, what is it that is holding you back? What is it that you are afraid of? Are you AFRAID of the life changing experience that may come with it? Are you afraid to leave your comfort zone and the little cozy world you have built for yourself? These bonds are holding you back and preventing you from becoming all that you could be, and there’s no better way to catalyze the change than to go on a short term mission trip and change someone else’s life for the better in the process.

P.S. – If you’d like to read more from the Costa Rica trip blog, you can find it at the following link. This link is to the specific post that struck me the most. You can access the rest of the blog from there.  http://lcs2010goestocr.blogspot.com/2010/04/i-was-hungry-and-you-gave-me-something.html