There is a classic line in one of my favorite Batman movies (yes… I like superhero movies). It comes from the Dark Knight, and it is a question that is asked several times throughout the movie and often in the aftermath of failure or in the face of fear of a great challenge. The question is "Why do we fall?" The answer consistently given was "So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
This has been a great question that I have often used working with folks and particularly my sons. I want to help them understand that in most cases in life, failing, making a mistake is not terminal. That in the face of failure or in the shadow of a daunting task we have a choice; we can choose to get back up and to start walking again, or we can stay down, give up and make excuses as to why our life is so … well… life-less. Yes, when we choose to get up, sometimes barely, we may walk with a limp. We may walk with that limp for a lifetime, but those limps and scars are badges of a life lived well.
What is foundational in all of this is the reality that in Christ our mistakes and failures are not terminal. That we are growing in the understanding that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ – no trial, no circumstance and yes… not even death itself because love has overcome sin, failure, and death. The eternal promise of life after death assures us that even in the face of death, even the "big stick" threat of death no longer has a sting!
I am more and more convinced that when we fail (and we will) that we fall into the safety, the security of the generous, all-consuming love of God. It is in the safety of this place that we can be healed, encouraged and find the grace and strength to learn from it and get back up. It is here that we begin to see the successful life is one that is lived deeply and fully – not hiding our talents but sharing them liberally. It is being faithful with a little or a lot – not the amount at all. That to risk all for love's sake, and fail is not failing at all because love never fails. This is the mark of a life lived in God. The journey of surrender, to be immersed, overcome, saturated and permeated through and through with the transforming love of God.
If you are feeling the crushing weight under what feels like catastrophic failure, or you are frozen by fear and intimidation of failure, I would invite you to fall into the safety, the security of the generous, all-consuming love of God and there be picked up, dusted off, kissed and sent onward into deeper living knowing that you are never alone, and like death and sin, failure has been conquered by the Fathers perfect love!