It was my first time skiing. But it definitely wasn’t my first time dealing with failure.
My Best isn’t Good Enough
I’ve never been an impressively athletic person. So when my husband said he wanted me to try skiing with him, “excited” was not a word I would’ve used to describe myself. But as a good, supportive wife, I said I would try. So sporting brand new insulated outerwear, squishing goggles to my face, and strapping uncomfortably stiff boots to my feet, I gave it my best.
But my best wasn’t enough.
I made more falls than I could count. Each time, the struggle to get up was exponentially more difficult. The snow gave me a bruise on my lower back that resembled a ripe strawberry. So half way down the easiest slope on the mountain, fighting off a full-blown meltdown, I informed my husband that I was done.
The Struggle with Failure
While he did just a little more skiing, I found a spot to sit, rest my tired legs, and watch the other skiers slide gracefully across the snow. Exhausted and frustrated, I starting considering all the other times I’ve failed at sporty excursions. On a middle school retreat, I failed at water skiing. At a youth event, I failed at climbing an inflatable obstacle course. During P.E. class, I was always one of the last picked for teams, because everyone else knew that I was gonna fail at dodge ball.
Failure. Failure. Failure.
Hot tears began to roll, bringing a little warmth to my frozen, red cheeks. But choosing to shift my perspective quickly warmed my heart instead.
More than Enough Reasons for Joy
Instead of dwelling on countless failures, I started to count my blessings:
- A husband who loves me
- A family I adore
- Friends who encourage me, pray for me, and keep me laughing
- A roof over my head and (more than) enough food to eat
- NOT having a meltdown in the middle of a ski slope
- A loving heavenly Father who gave His Son for me, even though I’ve failed at every sporty thing I’ve ever tried
- Skill and talent at lots of other things like my job and teaching kids at church about Jesus
- And I don’t have to live in defeat of failed attempts because God has given me joy
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” – Philippians 4:4
God gives us joy and infinite blessings. Sometimes we have to work a little harder to choose that joy, like when I’m out of breath and having a solo pity party next to a set of skis. But choosing to rejoice always in what God has done totally shifts our attitude. Complaint and and failure are exchanged for gratitude and peace. When God tells us to rejoice, it’s not because He wants or needs the praise. We are told to rejoice because it’s GOOD for me and for you.
So choose joy, my friends.