Failing Forward
Renee Swope

"The steps of a [woman] are established by the Lord, and He delights in [her] way. When [she] falls, [she] will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds [her] hand." Psalm 37:23-24 (NASB)

I admire, maybe even envy, people who aren't afraid to fail. You know, those people who see personal setbacks as another goal to conquer. People who don't even consider defeat when they blow it.

I wish I were that kind of person. But honestly, I am not always so courageous in the face of failure.

Failure is painful. It's embarrassing. And sometimes it makes me want to give up, mainly on myself.

God is teaching me a lot about failing. In fact, He is giving me a little push these days, to fail forward.

This week He's been challenging me to determine in my heart and mind that I am a work in progress and move forward even when I have a setback. He is reminding me that I am a woman who is becoming all He created her to be.

A woman who is growing.

A woman who is getting better and better each day.

A woman who is not perfect - but who tries to surrender to God's perfect love and perfect power at work in her.

Failing forward...after I shoot harsh words across the room to "shoosh" my child when he announces that the yogurt in our near empty refrigerator has expired and there is nothing to eat! That is, after I'd just opened the large container of perfectly good yogurt, eaten some myself and served it to his brother for a snack.

Failing forward...after I criticize my husband and realize I failed to honor my man, again. Instead I've added to an already stressful day for the husband and father who just brought home groceries.

Failing forward...after I let myself be "too busy" to take the time to encourage, sit with, talk to, and listen to my always-giving-and-forgiving-mom who stopped by unexpectedly this afternoon.

Failing forward...after I tell God that a certain ministry assignment is too stinkin' hard so I can't do it because surely I don't have what it takes.

Every time I fail to be the woman God calls me to be, or the woman I expect myself to be, God reminds me of the progress we've made. Because, even though I may not be who I want to be, I am not who I used to be!

And I get that much closer to who I am meant to be every time I fail forward.

Dear Lord, I am so thankful that with Your help, I can fail forward!! I don't have to see my setbacks as a step back. In fact they can lead me forward if I let them. Today, I will take Your hand and trust Your heart as You pull me back up again and use my failures to help me become the woman You created me to be. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Related Resources:
Shaped with Purpose Workbook and CD by Renee Swope

Youniquely Woman: Becoming Who God Designed You To Be by Kay Arthur, Emilie Barnes, and Donna Otto

Beyond the Shadow of Doubt: Learning to Live Confidently in Christ, Message on DVD by Renee Swope

Visit Renee’s Blog for practical ways we can fail forward with God’s help in the areas where we most often feel defeated.

Application Steps:
List one or two areas of your life where you have felt like you were failing. Then ask God to show you how you can take one step forward with His help. And also ask Him to show you the progress you've made and how you are becoming the woman He created you to be.

Let Renee know how she can pray for you today by clicking here.

Do I allow failure to discourage me and make me feel like I'll never move forward or make progress?

Am I willing to believe God's promise in today's key verse: That the LORD establishes my steps, and delights in my ways. And even when I fall, I don't have to be hurled headlong, because the LORD is willing to hold my hand?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 24:16a, "...though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again." (NIV)

Psalm 73:26, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (NIV)

© 2009 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Em'ly Owens said...

Wow. Are you and I the same person? Why do we see failures so much more often than successes? Every day is full of successes (aka blessings)but so often I don't see them because I am harping on my failures. Instead, I need to look at them as obsticles. A good friend of mine told me just yesterday to "keep moving forward." Regardless of what life sends my way the right choice is to keep moving forward. Life is hard, but God is good.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You always speak to my heart i feel such a connection to you. When you talk about your life it's as if it's me your speaking of. Thank you for messages it gets me through the day and through life. I want so desperatly to find god the way you have. I was luckey engough to attend one of your speaking engagements and i just wanted to sit and talk to you for hours even days just to figure out how to find what you have. Thank you for being you you are special and you touch me all the way back here in Illinois.

Anonymous Kathy said...

I have 4 grown children, two sons that have always been a joy, but different as night and day. The oldest is a police officer, the youngest has followed an opposite path. He is in rehab at this time, with a heartfelt desire to become what God wants in his life, but very new at this life after years of following the wrong path. I have always felt we did the best we could as parents. Yesterday my oldest daughter told me some things I have failed to realize, I have failed seriously with my sons. She said I have always paid more attention to the problem than the good. That was his expression to her. I have hurt my son for years, not knowing how he felt. I always was there for him, but he didn't feel he could reach me. I have failed. The Lord allowed us to talk thru some of this, and express our love for each other and his brother. Pray that I can follow the Lord and be the mother he wants me to be to both of my sons.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for the daily devotion today. My whole week has been the worst so far. I have felt like such a failure and when I happen to come across this email and I started crying cause I felt as if the Lord was speaking to me directly through this reading. Thank you so much. It was up lifting and just what I needed today. God Bless you. cjw

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise GOD, that HIS ways are not our ways, I love HIM sooo much and I can't understand HIS love for me but I recieve it and accept it!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

With my failures I now plan not to fall down but fail forward. Thank you, Lord, for the steps forward that You are going to help me to take.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I was visiting with a friend yesterday she asked if I had read this devotional. Sadly I shared that I did...I had gotten away from reading them.

God is so amazing. In the last few weeks I have had opportunities put before me...ones I have initiated but then fell short on the follow up.

I feel like I am at a turning point in my life. On one hand I am excited for what is to come and the other hand fear is holding me back. I can really relate to some of the things you shared...thank you for being so open about it.

Just so you I began to read this I kept going back to my inbox to get those phone numbers to call to set appointments...ones I believe God is leading me to make.

Just a simple nudge to move forward...thank you again for sharing

Mary T

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for you God-filled words. I am graduating from a 12-step program today, but just last night fell back into a pattern that I thought I had gained control of and realized that I wasn't trusting as much as I thought I was. Last night and this morning, I felt like a failure, as if my graduation tonight was meaningless. But your words helped me to put into perspective that my graduation is not a destination, but more a mile-marker on my way to continuing to give my life over to Christ everyday. That whatever I accomplish is not through me, but by His strength alone. He is faithful even in my failures.

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