Drawing On Courage and Christian Faith to Overcome Failure

Written by: Kerin Hanson

Thursday, June 09, 2016

There is a very damaging and scary “F” word out there that we don’t like to talk about. Do you know what it is?

That would be the word Fail.  I don’t like to talk about my failures, do you?  I didn’t think so.  On the whole no one likes to talk about, draw attention to, or even think about their own failures. Here’s the important thing to remember though: how you think about failure will define you just as much as how you define success will. Those people who steward failure well are going to be happier and more succesful. They will ultimately be the keepers of the future.

How do you diagnose your thoughts about personal failure? It helps to work with some definitions. There are 3 categories of failure which we can talk about:

  1. Real Failure (where you actually did fail)
  2. Perceived Failure (you think you failed, but your co-workers and buddies don’t think you did)
  3. Claimed Failure (you think you succeed, but someone is claiming you failed).  

Now a quick word about time. There are two greek words that frame our perceptions of time, Chronos, as in chronology, the study of timekeeping, and Kairos meaning the measurment of moments.  The word Kairos is used 3 times more in the bible than Chronos.  It references either a positive (A-ha) moment or a negative (uh-oh) moment.  Our failures are always Kairos moments in life, but you are the one who chooses whether it will be positive or negative experience.

So what usually happens when we fail?  There is a cycle out there if we take a negative Kairos moment and it looks something like this:


So once we fail we go to this cycle where we feel rejected and we use our fight or flight instincts and then ultimately feel shame.  Time for some help from our Christian faith.

What if there was a different cycle we could use after our failure.  We could stand on the gospel to help us through and turn it into a positive.  So it would look something like this instead:



So how do we steward failure well?  Here are some ideas:

  1. Draw on your courage
  2. Evaluate what’s in your control and what’s not
  3. Face the tough conversations (to define your goals even if it makes you squirm)
  4. Make your goals realistic
  5. Separate shame (the fear of being unlovable) from failure
  6. Strive for health (don’t stress and beat yourself up)
  7. Is there freedom and permission to fail? (What can I learn from this experience?)
  8. Know your identity (You are a child of the One True King)


One of the best Christian College Benefits is knowing you are on the path to a better, happier self. For more information about Christian college student faith just contact us  and start the conversation today!  Ready to visit?  Just let us know and someone will email or call you right away. 

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