It had been a great cross country year so far. Joe, Dillan, and Alex would run neck-and-neck and finish one right after the other. The friendly competition was good for them, and it was fun to watch which one would finish first this time.
It was race day, and they were mentally stoked. Focused. Warmed up and ready. They’d been finishing in the top 10 all season were itching to do it again.
The first mile was strong. They were in the front of the pack. In the second mile, Alex fell a couple places behind but was still close enough to finish in the top ten.
Until he wasn’t. At the finish, Joe came in first. Then Dillan. But Alex was nowhere to be found. He came in a lot farther back than he anticipated. A LOT farther back. And he was beating himself up.
When he finally faced his coach, he apologized for having a bad race. For failing. But I loved Coach Haug’s response. “Alex, the only way you failed here is if you don’t learn from it. Let it teach you, but don’t let it hold you back. Shake it off and keep running.”
We all fail. Miss it. Fall short of the mark a little. Or a lot.
The tears flow with the I’m sorrys. We repent. Forgive. Kiss and make up. In a perfect world it would end there, but usually it doesn’t.
It goes on into self-recriminations. Self-pity. Misery. Defeat. “I’m a failure.”
But that’s a lie. We’re not failures. We’re humans.
You only truly fail when you give up.
So get up, dust yourself off,
and keep going.
Replace “I’m a failure,” with “I’m forgiven.”
Swap, “It’s impossible,” with “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Switch out, “I’ll never get it right,” with “I’m an overcomer in Him.”
David said, “How could I have done that? I committed adultery and had her husband murdered. I am a horrible person! Shame on me.”
But God called David a man after his own heart. And he fulfilled his destiny as king.
Peter said, “I denied Him 3 times. He told me I would and I just didn’t believe Him. How could I have done that? I love Him! I thought I would die for Him. I’m just a wimp and a coward and a failure. Shame on me.”
But Jesus trusted him to feed His sheep. To care for His church. And he did it well.
Don’t let a 5-minute failure hold you back from fulfilling your destiny. Jesus paid the price and carried all of your guilt and regret on the cross. So drop it.
You may be thinking, “Shame on me. How could I have ____.”
But because of the cross, Jesus says, “It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. My blood covers it. So shame OFF you.”
Believe it. Receive it. Shake it off. The blood of Jesus was enough. May grace, mercy, and sweet peace be yours as you walk in His forgiveness and love.