Failure and joy in the same sentence doesn't seem like it should complement each other.
But as some one who has been known to fail a lot I can tell you that there are 3 steps I take to turn failure into joy!
There are times when I reflect that most days have a built in failure of some kind. Like the other day when I was driving my kids to the lake and I was so proud that I managed to scrounge some picnic food together (I hadn’t gone grocery shopping in awhile!), pack all the bags, even remembered a spare swim diaper and hey oh! the toys (which I usually “forget”- as its one more thing to carry). Then it happened that I was minutes away from our destination and bam! It hits me…I LEFT ALL THE TOWELS, SWIM ARM BANDS, and DOMINIC’s SWIM SUIT at home.
Yep I had packed it …but conveniently forgot it. Ugh…total mom fail. So yes, I fail and comically more routinely than most.
And even though those things are annoying…that’s not the failure that gets me. It’s the failure that I let down my kids when I can’t level with them in a cool calm demeanor, be level headed when they are losing their little minds and then I YELL. I’ve had friends doubt I ever do yell but it happens.
All the calm zen-like techniques that I try to incorporate in my parenting style go out the window and my frustration is there for everyone to see.
And then failure isn’t just a comical nuance of my day but rather the defining word for my entire vocation as a mom, my homeschooling, and how my entire day went (even if really it wasn’t all bad).
Ugh….It’s humbling to share this but this is what happens when I fail like this.
Then 3 things change my Epic Failure into a Joy.
Then 3 Things Change my epic Failure into a Joy.
- I cry: I’m not talking sweet drops, but hyperventilating sobbing. Even though it’s not pretty it physically and emotionally drains me. Even though it doesn’t seem like it would ever bring joy it takes all the projections of perfection that I carry for myself as a mother/wife/teacher/instructor/daughter/friend and all the other standards and titles I have set for myself and lays them bare. I am not perfect and that truth is what I have to let go of.
- I talk. First I bend God’s ear and tell Him everything I failed at, even though He already knows. There are times that even in my prayer I try to be perfect saying the right prayers or have the right mindset when often the raw unfiltered Renee makes the best putty for God to do something with. Then I talk to my best friend, my husband. After kindly reminding me to rehydrate (remember the ugly crying), he holds the space for me…to sob to cry and reminds me of the virtues he sees in me. He can’t fix the problem or the issue with one of our kids but he can be there which is all I need to move on to #3.
- I just be. It seems counterintuitive to just be when I just messed up and need to fix and repair the relationship with one or all of my kids. But that’s a different step. When I rest in my failure, and the toppling tower of perfection I can’t achieve I am raw. This is the time for God’s grace. Grace can help me love myself in spite of my failure and then love my kids in the way that they need. Only then can I learn from that failure to make the steps to change what needs to change.
“Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” - 2 Corinthians 12:10
There are so many steps in my day to day life…how to get breakfast on the table or how to teach our lessons but ultimately to recover from failure is the one I need the most so I don’t just stay in the “failure” but see that this is a merely a step. You can read here how I see failure in my teaching style.
What steps do you take to find joy in your failure?! I'd love to hear from you!
Only with His Grace,