Backsliding isn’t failing

Have you ever felt like you are backsliding? Have you wished you could have taken back something you said that wasn’t what a “real” Believer would have said, or not done what you did because it was the wrong thing to have done?

Welcome to the club.

Everyone backslides, everyone does or says something wrong- EVERYONE!  Don’t let it phase you or discourage you because then you really have backslid (is that a word?); when we think that we are unable to work God’s purpose for our life and begin to feel it is all a waste of time, we are doing what the enemy wants us to do.

Backsliding is NOT failing- it is just making a mistake, and we all make mistakes. Remember that old saw: “To err is human; to forgive, divine”? Well, forgive yourself and move on. Backsliding is not a failure, it is a delay; it is a momentary detour from the path you wanted to be on and, as such, can be repaired so you can get back on the right path.

If you want to be successful, do what the successful people do. So, with that in mind, here are some quotes from successful people who know what they are talking about:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash

“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Chris Bradford

Every one of these people have been “successful” in what they tried to accomplish during their lifetimes, and every one of them made mistakes and had what can be called a “failure”- but it didn’t stop them from continuing to try. Where Churchill calls it “enthusiasm” we can substitute the word “faithfulness”; the point is that we fail only when we stop trying.

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln, unquestionably one of the greatest Presidents any country has ever known, failed to be elected some 16 times during his lifetime? He constantly ran for office, and before being elected President had only been successful once, becoming a Congressman and then losing re-election just 2 years later.

One of my favorite success stories is about the invention of the light bulb. Thomas Edison suffered about 1,000 different failures as he tried to find which material would make a good filament. He finally came up with the correct answer, and when asked how he felt about failing a thousand times, he answered that he didn’t fail a thousand times, he found one thousand ways that didn’t work.

Now there’s a man who knows how to handle failure- by seeing it not as a failure but as one step bringing him closer to a successful end.

I have said many times, and will continue to say, that three steps forward and two steps backwards is still one step closer to the goal.

Our successful end, so to speak, won’t come until we have been called to the Lord, so until then we need to continue to keep walking the path to God, whether we are walking a straight path or going from one side to the other. Each time we backslide it gives us an opportunity to improve: when we make an error we now know what to look out for in the future, and so what was an error is now a learning experience.

Reading the bible we see that from the very beginning, God has told us how to live and given us exactly what we need to do so. We, on our part, have constantly screwed it up and God, on His part, has constantly done what was necessary to get us back on the proper path. Making mistakes, backsliding and screwing up are as natural to us as breathing. Unlike breathing, however, it is better for us when we stop making mistakes. So, breathe easier knowing that your mistakes are not failures, your failures are just mistakes, and mistakes can be fixed. OK- there are some mistakes that cannot be fixed, so if you do something that can’t be repaired, you need to follow Johnny Cash’s advise (above) and keep going, anyway.

The bible is full of encouraging words about God’s promises of correction followed by reconciliation- He always, always, always tells us through the Prophets that there will be a time when He will bring us together again, forgive and forget our sins, and we will live in peace and joy. That is what we aim for and that is what we need to keep focused on.

Don’t worry about making mistakes- it only proves you are human. God knows this will happen and has provided for you to help you keep going. Maybe my pathway is straighter than yours, or yours may be straighter than mine, but that isn’t important: how we get there doesn’t count as much as where we end up.

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