Putting It into Context: Why Failure Can Be Good

“What’s worth doing is worth doing poorly because someday, you’ll do it great.”

—Frank Peretti

When I posted this meme, I got some quizzical comments on it. What did it mean? Context helps, so I’ll do just that with this post.

When I went to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (BRMCWC), Frank Peretti was one of the keynote speakers. Some of you may know who he is. Many may not. If you haven’t read his books before, I encourage you to read This Present Darkness and its sequel, Piercing the Darkness, among others of his works.

During his keynote, he shared about his life, especially that it took him five years to write This Present Darkness. Then it took a bit for it to become popular. Since he was speaking to writers, that’s where he focused his keynote.

Writing takes much time. It takes time to write. It takes time to learn how to write. And it takes stumbling many, many times before our work becomes work of merit.

I think that’s what the quote says. To become good at writing, great at it, we have to fail many times. Maybe it’s at writers conferences, such as the BRMCWC, where we pitch our work to agents and get rejected. Or we submit a critique and see returned work where it looks like someone sacrificed a small animal on the keyboard.

It’s hard hearing critiques on work that came from our hearts and souls.

Yet along the way, something happens. We start with baby steps. We learn the craft through gentle guidance. We can see the difference as we learn to exercise the gift that God has given us.

This can apply to our lives in general. How many of us were experts in our fields of work or in an athletic pursuit on the first day? Granted, we might have had the gift, but we had to sit under the teaching of others, be it in the classroom, on the athletic field, or in the office.

Last week, my husband and I caught up on American Ninja Warrior. Sandy Zimmerman, a mom of three from Spokane, Washington, competed in 2019 and became the first mom to make it up the warped wall and hit a buzzer.

This year, while she went down on the fifth obstacle, one short of the buzzer, she had something interesting to say. She stated that while it had been great to compete on American Ninja Warrior and finish a course in 2019, those years beforehand were what she remembered the most.

Those seasons beforehand when she competed and fell (read, failed), had prepared her for that day in 2019 and then a couple of weeks ago. Those failures built her up for eventual success.

That’s what I believe Frank Peretti meant. We need to remember that it’s okay to fail, that from each failure, we get better and better at what we do until we’re great at it.

Maybe your version of that is being in school and struggling through hard courses. I’ll be you learned something.

Or maybe you took the bar exam and failed that first time. I’ll bet you learned something.

It’s okay to fail over and over because each time, we learn something that can make what we do great. #Authenticity #Encouragement Click To Tweet

Or maybe you’re a writer like me and have come to realize how much you have to learn. I’ll bet you’re learning through each manuscript, article, or nonfiction piece produced.

Keep working. Fail. Remain teachable. You’ll go on to be great at your endeavor.

Question: At what endeavor did you work hard, fail time and again, and become great?

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