I read an e-votional this morning with this story and thought I’d share it.
A young man of
thirty-two was appointed President of a large, well-established bank.
He’d never dreamed he would be president, much less at such a young
age. Therefore, he approached the Chairman of the Board, a man known
for his wisdom, and asked, "You know, I’ve just been appointed
President. I was wondering if you could give me some advice." The old
man came back with just two words, "Right decisions!" The young man had
hoped for a bit more than this, so he said, "That’s really helpful, and
I appreciate it, but can you be more specific? How do I make right
decisions?" The wise old man simply responded,
"Experience." The young man said, "Well, that’s why I am here. I don’t
have the kind of experience I need. How do I get it?" The final and
somewhat terse reply came, "Wrong decisions!"
Ever since I was in
junior high I’ve always loved to be in charge of something. Some might
think that means I like to be bossy, others might say "in control" and
others might recognize that as leadership. I suppose each one could
certainly be true in its own way, but I’d like to think that over time
people (usually pastors) in my life were developing me to be a leader,
and not to be bossy or in control. (Perhaps they saw something in
me:) I’m grateful for all the learning environments I’ve been blessed
with these past fourteen years.
One of the greatest things about these environments has been the freedom to fail…to learn through making wrong decisions. Nobody wants to make wrong decisions, but unfortunately, for me at least, I make my fair share of them. Just yesterday someone asked me, point blank, how my prayer life for my ministry was going. I had to be honest and say that it hasn’t been what it should’ve been…wrong decision. Oh, it wasn’t a wrong decision that I shared it, but it was a wrong decision to let my prayers shrink in my life (and for something I’m so passionate about!). He could’ve told me what an awful leader I’d been because of that and that he needed to find someone better to lead that ministry, but I’m grateful to know that I’ve been given the freedom to fail…I definitely need to come back strong though.
It’s good for me to have people in my life who allow room for this type of freedom. I think it’s often hard to allow ourselves to have this. Even if we’re not perfectionists (which I’m not), we don’t want to fail. We don’t want to fall down. We want to do it right the first time around and not have to go back to the starting line. The fact of the matter is that if we never allow ourselves the freedom to fail we will go through life dragging ourselves around with a "woe is me, I’m a failure…nobody should want to be around a failure such as I" attitude…and we’ll never take God-ordained risks.
In conclusion (this is how my students would start a closing paragraph;), try not to fail, but liberate yourself from the fear of wrong decisions. Even as I read that last sentence, it’s much easier said than done, but aren’t you glad that God can be the source our "trying not to fail"? 🙂
Have an awesomely, freeing day.