We each fill many roles. There can be a lot of pressure to “get it right” in every aspect of life. The pressure can build to succeed in any role – student, wife, mother, co-worker, sister, friend, daughter. Sometimes it builds up in many places simultaneously and can be crippling. But, so long as we continue looking to the Lord and striving towards the long term goal of growing in love towards a heavenly life, “failure” is a useful necessity. For our Easter Sunday church service at New Church Westville that was the point of the sermon, which you can listen to here. In some ways even Jesus had to “fail” to accomplish His long term success. When we focus on moving forward and following the Lord failure helps us to grow in ways we never could otherwise and ultimately reach our heavenly goal.
“The fact that those who are being reformed are brought into a state of not knowing any truth, that is, into a state of desolation, insomuch that they experience grief and despair, and that at this point for the first time they receive comfort and help from the Lord, is something that is not known at the present day for the reason that few are being reformed. Those who are such that they are able to be reformed are brought into this state, if not during this life then in the next….
And it is the state of distress and grief even to the point of despair that effects this change. What good is, and indeed what blessedness and happiness are, nobody with even the sharpest mind is able to perceive unless he has experienced the state of being deprived of good, blessedness, and happiness. It is from this experience that he acquires a sphere of perception; and he acquires it to the same degree that he has experienced the contrary state, for the sphere of perception and how far it extends are determined by his experience of the two contrary states. These, in addition to many others, are the reasons for vastation or desolation. Let the following examples illustrate the matter.” Arcana Coelestia 2694.2
4 thoughts on “We Must Fail To Succeed”
Yes! Reminds me of a great workshop I took once from the incomparable Lori Odhner — “Failure is Fabulous.” Hard to accept sometimes, but essential to the process!
Thank you for this reminder. Simple but so profound! I’ve been feeling this a lot lately as a first time parent–it’s when I feel like I’ve reached my limit and have no idea what to do that I remember to ask the Lord for help and then because my ego is broken down enough, I can actually hear Him and try something new (or at least with a new spirit).
Thanks for this insight, Abby. …Honestly, the HD quote has my brain in a bit of a knot :\ but I got the essence of what YOU said! -And I’ll share this timely example with you, if you don’t mind, too: I played a fun piano song (“hymn”, but not a hymn, per se) for our Easter service, one which I know quite well and which lulls me into distraction as my fingers take over. WELL, I was about 2/3 of the way through the song when my mind successfully wandered and I drew a complete BLANK. :O Silence…… People got back on track singing, and I stumbled through to the end of the song (ending on a good note, fortunately!). Ordinarily, I would plunge into the depths of despair after something as ‘horrendous’ as this. I would feel so stupid, like such an idiot, like a failure, etc etc. Somehow, out of Somewhere, I had the perception that this abysmal failure *didn’t matter*. It’s just piano, it has nothing to do with anything important — and the added wisdom that IT’S THE HELLS WHO WANT ME TO FEEL LOUSY. Short story long — I didn’t dwell on it, I didn’t get down, I went on with my day, and that, I believe, was a success. I achieved that success through failure, hallelujah!! 🙂
(Oh, and I’ll go back and re-read that HD passage a few times…. Eventually it’ll surely sink in!)
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