Failures can turn into blessings

?Don?t be so hard on yourself. I can bring good even out of your mistakes…. Because you are human, you will continue to make mistakes. Thinking that you should live an error-free life is symptomatic of pride. Your failures can be a source of blessing, humbling you and giving you empathy for other people in their weaknesses. Best of all, failure highlights your dependence on Me. I am able to bring beauty out of your mistakes. Trust Me, and watch to see what I will do.? ?Sarah Young in ?Jesus Calling?

Failure is interesting. When we?re in the process of failing, or in the direct aftermath, it isn?t pleasant. Failure is hard. Failure is frustrating. Failure is embarrassing.

Humans don?t get a choice at whether or not we fail. It?s more a matter of when and how?and we rarely control the when and how. Failure is inevitable.

But it is also full of promise.

It wasn?t until a couple weeks ago that I really made that connection, thanks to a devotional I?m reading called ?Jesus Calling.?

Failure is a source of empathy.

For the second year, I?m coaching long jump and triple jump for Hillsboro middle and high schools, so this lesson on empathy is timely.

Until this line, ?Your failures can be a source of blessing, humbling you and giving you empathy for other people in their weaknesses,? struck me, I?d never really revisited my own athletic career with a big-picture mentality.

While I found success on the track and field as an athlete, I?m also finding quite a bit of beauty coming out of my failures.

As an eighth grader at Marquette, I maintained an undefeated record in my open events. However, as a freshman at Smoky Valley, I found it nearly impossible to compete with the faster and stronger upperclassmen. I wanted to quit. I was embarrassed and frustrated. I couldn?t wait for my season to be over.

As a junior, I was expected to win the league championship in long jump. I was having a great season, and I also expected to win. But I scratched all of my preliminary jumps and couldn?t even compete in finals, let alone win.

After qualifying in four events and placing at the state meet as a junior, I had high hopes for my senior season. However, a series of events, including my decision not to play basketball in the winter, led to a season-ending injury in one of the first meets of the year. I wore a walking cast for a good part of my senior season.

At the time, all these failures were disappointing. Now I see the promise in them.

I can relate to the freshman who wants to quit.

I can relate to the frustration of less-than-stellar performances.

I can relate to the disappointment of defeat.

And with this empathy, my goal as a coach is to add words of encouragement.

Don?t get me wrong. I want my athletes to compete hard and finish strong. I want them to be successful. But we all know continual success is impossible to maintain. Failure is a part of competition, and it?s a hard part. It?s also way more telling about an athlete than is success. And as a coach, part of my job is to encourage in both areas.

While I can?t force my athletes to see their failures as valuable, I can still use my experiences to try. And if I can help even one athlete understand that their value as a human doesn?t lie in their performance as an athlete, my failures were worth it.