Saturday, September 20, 2014

On failure and getting back up

Browsing through my timeline on a social media site today, I saw a video that piqued my interest. Now before I continue on with my story, you should know that I seldom watch videos shared in my timeline. The only ones I watch are those which I am tagged in, and most often are related to a TV series I am gaga about. But for some reason, my finger found its way to the play button and I'm so thankful it did because what I took from the video is nothing short of inspiring.
You might never fail on the scale I did but failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something. unless you lived so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all. In which case, you failed by default. 
- J.K. Rowling
Each one of us have experienced failure. While some of it may be small, in which case, only a small amount of "dusting" is needed, other failures may be on a larger scale, those that can be potentially life-changing.

I am not a stranger to failure myself. Growing up, I've had more than my fair share of failures too. So much that my fingers are not enough to count 'em all! What are your failures? One of mine is having to take the board exams thrice. And if you're wondering if I passed the third time, yes, I did. :)

That failure haunted me for years! There were times when I even dreamt that I had to take the exams again even if I had already passed. Talk about trauma!

I was talking to Mon about it recently, that the board exams season of my life is one of the most traumatic, if not the most traumatic thing that ever happened in my life and in our conversation, we started to process my fear and the trauma of the incident. In the end I realized that it is not the exam itself that had caused the paralyzing fear but how I and the people closest to me had reacted to it. You see, when I failed the first two tests, I considered myself a failure. What was even more depressing is that the people around me also did. And that fact has left me feeling all the more ashamed of myself. Sure, I got sympathy here and there but I know deep down that I am expected to prove something.

It's a good thing I knew someone who loves me unconditionally. Who welcomes me in his arms without the need for me to prove anything and that is the Lord. With Him as my foundation and my father's money (haha. I was so poor that I can't even afford to send myself to review school that time), I bravely took the test for the third time and emerged victorious.

But I was telling Mon that for the longest time after I had passed the exams,  my mindset was: had the people around me reacted differently, the effect on me wouldn't have been so bad. He countered that by telling me to stop using other people as an excuse for the crap I have in my life. It's time to take charge and be responsible for my own actions and choices. Besides, what he saw when I had told him about the whole incident is not really my failure to pass but how I was able to recover, without other people rallying me for support no less. He was also able to point out that that incident had paved the way for me to know myself better, what I am capable of, and how I handle my emotions despite the pressure coming from those people around me.

Our conversation ended with me looking at the incident in a different light. I do not see myself anymore as a glaring failure of a person. Instead, I see a victorious individual who, in her most dejected moment, made the right decision to trust in the Lord, dust her knees, and give it all she has to punch life right back. "Without the bitter, the sweet ain't as sweet." -- now that is a quote that has never been more apt.

photo source
That verse is my greatest take away from the whole conversation. With Jesus, I can do anything I set my mind to. And guess what? So can you!

P.S.: This isn't anymore related to the topic but can I just say, girls, marry someone who can change the way you think about yourself, who can turn even the most depressing thing about you to your favor. And I tell you, you will not regret it. ;)


  1. Ugh, I understand failure like the back of my hand. My entire life had been a failure up till 12 years ago. Everything I worked hard for came to nothing. But God has a way of redeeming a person, doesn't he? I'm doing something totally different and going towards a different direction - and it started late in my life, and I'm not failing on this one.:)

    1. Agree! God really has a way of redeeming a person. I'm very glad to hear that you are doing now what God has purposed you to do. One thing I learned is that when a person is finally doing God's purpose for him, it is not only hard to fail, it is even impossible! So I guess you are on the right track! Again, I'm happy for you! :)