Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The beauty of a failure

My biggest fear in life? Failure. That I will fail myself, my loved ones, my God. For years I would go to great lengths to avoid failure. Even if that length meant sacrificing something, for fear I would fail at it. I have done that so many times.

Recently, I failed at something that I thought I really wanted. And I failed epically. In 2008, while working for a company that was involved in higher education, I decided to pursue a doctorate degree in educational leadership. This was a huge undertaking for me, and I told everyone I knew. I put it on my myspace page, I put it on my facebook page, I sent emails to my friends. Someday, everyone would call me "Dr.". I was excited and scared and proud all at the same time.

In my first class, I made an amazing connection with my professor, which was even more incredible being that I was taking classes online. She supported and encouraged me, and set me as an example to the other students in the class. She treated me as a peer. I got 100% in that first doctorate class. I felt certain this was the path I was supposed to be on. Several months later, I had to travel to Chicago for a residency weekend, and again, I was in love with the program, and my path. This is most definitely for me. However, by that time, I had started dating Hubby, the Boyfriend, so it was hard to balance everything. But I could handle it. Right?

Then, I got a promotion at work. I had been working toward this for several months, taking on part of the responsibilities to prove I was worthy, so I could handle this, right? Wrong. I failed at the promotion. Best thing that ever happened to me. I am so not management material. In retrospect, I should have listened to my heart a few months into the hiring process and withdrew my name from contention. The other girl would have done a better job. But I think she is happier now anyway. All things for a reason, eh? So, ok, that failure was out of the way, I could focus more on school again.

Except, then Hubby, then Boyfriend,'s dad died. And everything else ceased to matter. Then the engagement, the wedding plans, the house purchase and was no longer a priority, and it was no longer the path God wanted me on. I tried, I fought Him tooth and nail. And I failed classes. Me, who never so much as got an F on a homework assignment in any of my previous 21 years of education, kindergarten through masters degree, ME. I was a failure. It was humbling.

I realized that God wanted me to focus on myself, and my health, my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. He wanted me to focus on my Hubby, and our home, and helping to establish ourselves as a family.

But...was this really a failure? In some ways, most definitely yes. My transcript will attest to that, as will my student loan payments. And my pride most certainly felt it at the time.

But, this was something I had to experience. I needed to learn that failure is not the worst thing in the world, and the only way to learn that was to fail. God loves me despite my failings. That is the beauty of grace. Our failures do not define us, but they do shape us into the person God wants us to be.

And I always knew that, I just had to believe it. And in order to believe it, I had to experience it.

So, there you have it. I failed. I was a failure. And it was a blessing.