This week we are talking in our group, and large meeting time about failure. It is a topic that hits home for most of the guys at this point. We have climbed mountains, biked through valleys, worked in the heat, fly fished on a 10,000 foot lake. And with all the great joys, and scenes, and experiences of life, for all of us, failure is something we have been exposed to.
As men we hate these lines... I dont know what to do.
One young man with tears in sharing his confession, "I can't fix it."
We aren't taught to go there in our culture. Everything in our culture is set on rising up. In fame, fortune, and life. In some ways, beauty, and success, and the ascending part of life is a good thing. It's really true. But to get there, we must come to an end of that. The goal is not those things. Because we live with the idea, if I get those things... then I will be loved. noticed. respected. honored. embraced.
We work hard, to earn that. Most of us spend our lives in that path.
As much as I hate it, it seems the path God takes us is to descend into those dark places. and to feel the pain. the hurt. the loss. I dont know what to do. I can't make it better. I can't fix it. It is such a powerless place for a man. We are in some ways, created to bring order, and law, and rule, and dominion to things. But not on our own. Jesus as our guide.
You see man doing this on his own in Genesis 11, in the Tower of Babel. Man is starting to innovate, design massive structures, with one language, and working together. God scatters them and their language, because who knows what they might accomplish on their own. He wants them to know Him. To experience God in those buildings, and creations. If we can do it on our own, we dont need him.
When we fail, we face shame. As one of the young men pointed out, when you watch a game, when a player misses the last second shot, or field goal, he looks down. He shrinks, and moves inward, and closes up. Shame. Failure takes us to shame. Being exposed. Feeling inadequate. Adam and Eve feel naked, and ashamed, after their sin, and they hid.
Failure takes us there. Hiding. Staying away from all those places that might produce that shame again. We live safe lives, with little risk.
Since shame is experience in the presence of others, we feel failure in the midst of people, and in a crowd, or with a friend. We avoid it. And the last thing we want to do is expose that, and ask for help, from others, and God.
I can do it on my own. And for many of the guys, that has been how they have lived their life. I will do it on my own. I will not trust others. Or I am afraid to let others lead me. I think that is the beauty of what failure brings a man. His need for help. His need for God.
Ultimately, the scriptures are about God's restoration of humanity. Success, and victory is the theme of God. We will reign with Him, as co-heirs. I think the path there, is through failure. We come to be those co-creators, and co-builders, as we begin to find our identity is in our belovedness of God, as his sons (Romans 8)