Selective Forgetfulness

confused-lady-clipart-1Forgetfulness seems to be an unremitting part of my life. I wish I could claim it is just because I am growing old, but unfortunately, forgetfulness has been a constant companion throughout my life.

As a young child and teen, I would forget to do chores my mother asked of me, I would forget answers for tests I studied so hard for, and even forget to come to a complete stop at the stop signs. As a young woman I forgot to turn my clock, thus being an hour late for my own bridal shower, forgot to pick up my son from daycare, and forgot dentist appointments.  Even now my children and friends remind me that I shouldn’t forget . . . well, whatever it is I should remember.

Some of my forgetfulness is because I am easily distracted and sidetracked. Some of it is because I live a busy life–filled with appointments, places to go, things to do, and people to see. I never forget on purpose, it just seems to happen.

Sometimes forgetting is a positive thing.  In Philippians, Paul talked about all the ways he could boast about who he was and what he had accomplished, but his focus was on Christ. He noted, “Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it [the resurrection from the dead]. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Paul deliberately forgot what was behind and looked forward to what was ahead.

How many times have we let things from the past burden us down and prevent us from living a life focused on Christ?  Whether the past is full of accomplishments or failures, we need to live today in such a way that we are pressing on toward a future that is fulfilling what God asks of us. While there are lessons from the past that help us learn to be better people, many of the things in the past that we hold on to just bog us down from living productive, happy lives.

We tend to hold on to past hurts, grudges, and pains when we need to forget them and move on. Or we focus on past accomplishments and deeds and tend to coast along the rest of our lives.

Forgetfulness. Even I confess that sometimes it is a problem to be forgetful. But selective forgetfulness?  What a good thing that can be when it frees us up from the things that hinder us and helps us go forward to the things God has called us to accomplish!

 

Four Things I Learned from Failure*

youre-fired-300x241When my husband and I were dating  and just getting to know one another, we shared about the various jobs we had in our past.  My husband told me that he was fired from his very first job.  He thought everyone should be fired at least once in their life because you learn many lessons from it.

This past week I had a conversation with someone who is graduating from college soon.  She is anxious about stepping out into a new world and having to make it on her own.  Her biggest question to me was, “What if I fail?”  My reply was, “What if you do? Most people fail at something.  It’s how you handle failure that’s important.”  Failure happens to most of us at one time or another and in our culture we consider failure as something to be avoided at all cost.

My contention is that we need failure in our lives occasionally.  It is through failure that we learn. When a baby is learning to walk she doesn’t automatically take off.  She fails a few times first.  She takes a step and falls down, but as she learns to take the next steps she figures out what works and what doesn’t.  She may learn so well that she may eventually even learn to run.

There are many things we can learn from our failures, but here are four key things I have learned from mine.

  1. Humility

Sometimes we fail because we are unwilling to listen and learn from others.  I have seen this play out on multiple occasions.  It is pretty humbling when we fail, especially if we have neglected to let the wisdom of others guide us.  I have to tell you, I have “eaten crow” on more than one occasion.  But if we learn humility we are far more likely to succeed in our endeavors.

  1. Perseverance

When I was learning to drive, I was ready to quit after my first time behind the wheel.  It was a disaster.  But with encouragement from my instructor, I persevered and eventually was able to drive on my own.

Henry Ford said, “Perseverance is a positive attribute we need to learn as we mature. Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Sometimes we initially fail in our attempts, but with practice can succeed. The saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is apt for most of us.

  1. Adaptation

Sometimes we experience a huge failure, such as a failed marriage, a failed career, or any other of a myriad of things.  But we learn that even though we fail, our life goes forward.  We may experience the pain of failure for a while, but to survive we must make adjustments and adapt to our new environment.  Individuals who have learned to adapt to new circumstances thrive more quickly than those who can’t get past their moment of failure.

  1. Courage

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  It takes courage to get back on our feet after a failure.  When we can get up and try again, we grow stronger.

Peter had a colossal failure when he denied Christ three times prior to Christ’s crucifixion (John 18:15-27).  Yet he grew to be a key figure in helping spread the gospel in the world around him.  While the source of his courage was the Lord, the fact is that his failure taught him a valuable lesson about faithfulness.

There is no doubt that I have failed many times in my life.  And, to be perfectly honest, there will probably be times in the future that I also fail.  But I can’t let my failures define who I am and what I do.  When I fail, I try to put everything in the proper perspective, learn from my failure, and find the courage to move on.

How do you handle failure in your life?  Do you let it define who you are?  Do you become so bogged down by failure that you can’t move forward in your life?  When we put our failures in God’s hands, it’s amazing what He can do with us.  I want to be like Peter, who after a huge failure, regrouped and let God use Him in mighty ways.  What about you?

*This article was originally published on August 30, 2011 on my cwrn blog.

 

It Has Been A While

It has been a while since I have posted anything on my blog. Mostly because I have been busy, but more likely because I feel like I do not have anything to say that has not been said better by someone else before me. Today, I have been thinking a lot about feeling alone and defeated. Some of my friends have been struggling. I see their posts. I hear their words. I talk to them about their challenges and fears. I hear their discouragement and hopelessness that things will be better or that they can overcome their adversity.

I have been there. And I bet you have too. I would venture that at some point you have experienced the feeling of being overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, crushed by the weight of burdens that are too numerous to even contemplate. You may be experiencing it even as you read this post. If people would be real and honest with one another, I think we would know how widespread this issue of feeling alone and overwhelmed really is. Continue reading “It Has Been A While”

Busted–and rightly so

“I read your blog of Jan 21st. I wanted to reply out of the public eye. I, as a rule, truly feel your posts are inspiring. However, you started this one on a negative note. What you posted in the first paragraph, for me, negated what you posted in the rest. Reread it. It is a negative post about Trump and politics and shows your views and feelings about politics and the Trump administration. .You are asking others to stop that behavior. Yet you are doing so by starting what is meant to be a positive message with a negative intonation. Reread it and see what you would think had I written it. I agree Trump bashing has been the norm and needs to stop. The Christian reaction to all this should be to turn off the TV channel when negative politics are on. Not buy that article with the hateful headlines. Not get into those hateful discussions, instead to discuss positive action that would help fix things. To survive humans have been taught to put others in a negative light so the world see the person setting up the “negativity” in a “better light”. They need to relearn a different way. Be an activist for change by not scolding the world for what has become the norm but teaching them the true Christian way.

This was sent to me privately by someone I love. My first reaction on reading this was, of course, “No, I did not bash Trump.” Then I went back and reread what I wrote and she was right and I was wrong. Continue reading “Busted–and rightly so”

I am Tired

Tus-vs-them-295oday is January 21, 2017 and we have seen one of the most controversial president’s ever to be elected, enter the White House. He has already started dismantling the Affordable Healthcare Act without a new plan put in place for a replacement and a way to fix our broken health care system. We are seeing poor cabinet choices, such as Betsy DeVos, who does not have the experience necessary to do this job. Time will tell if Trump will be a good, bad, or ineffective president.

But I have to tell you, I am tired. Continue reading “I am Tired”

Living with Brokenness

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a Fresh Grounded Faith conference. I heard Ann Voskamp, Laura Story, and Jennifer Rothschild share their stories and their challenges as women of God. I loved listening to these women because they were authentic and real. They didn’t paint a “rah, rah, everything is good in our lives” picture! Instead, they talked about our wounds and our challenges and our pain–our brokenness.

thAs I listened this weekend I thought about the multitude of women I know who have shared their stories with me through the years. Stories they have never shared with anyone, secrets so deep and painful they affected the rest of their lives. And I have been a keeper of the stories that have been told to me in confidence. My heart breaks every time I hear one of them. Continue reading “Living with Brokenness”

Election’s Over. Now What?

2016-electionAs I perused by my facebook comments this morning, depending on which side you were on, comments ran the gamut from disbelief and anger to celebration and jubilation. I have to confess I just feel dismay for the whole sorry debacle that was Election 2016.  As always in seasons of change there are opportunities that lie ahead for all of us. This is what I want people to take away after a season of often vitriolic and hate filled rhetoric from both sides. The only way we are going to “make this nation great again” is by working hard at a grassroots level. Every single individual needs to determine to make a difference. Here are my suggestions: Continue reading “Election’s Over. Now What?”

Surviving Transition

ChangeTransitions. We all have them. Some transitions fill us with expectation and excitement, others fill us with dread and uncertainty.  Some transitions are of our own making, others are sometimes forced upon us.  But there is no doubt, good or bad, we all need to learn how to adjust to transition in our lives.  It is especially difficult to make a smooth transition when change comes our way, not through our own choosing, but through circumstances–sometimes beyond our control or understanding. Continue reading “Surviving Transition”

The Man on the Honor Flight

10686785_10203126098255503_2263128286258544606_nToday is a very special day for a very special man. My brother-in-law, Steve, will be boarding a plane for an Honor Flight to Washington, DC. If you are not familiar with an honor flight, these flights take a veteran to Washington DC, where they can see memorials honoring those who have gone before. What Steve will see today includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and The Vietnam Wall, both of which will be moving experiences for him. This blog is a letter to a man who is not only my brother-in-law, but also a brother to me.

Dear Steve, Little did we know how big a part of our lives you would be when Sharron brought you home for the first time. I remember looking up and seeing all 6’4″ of you and being amazed at how tall you were. What I have discovered since then is that not only are you tall in height, you are tall in spirit. We have shared a lot of memories through the years. Continue reading “The Man on the Honor Flight”

Begging Isn’t Enough – Do Something

Ever since Target enlightened the public on their stance on the use of restrooms by transgender individuals, Christians have been in an uproar. While I understand their concerns, I am also concerned about their handling of the issue.  Quite frankly, transgenders have been using the restrooms they identify with for years. And before you start lambasting me and assuming I absolutely approve of this, please remember that kindness and mercy is far better in our dealing with non-Christians than hate and destructive rhetoric. Continue reading “Begging Isn’t Enough – Do Something”