You are NOT a failure when you fail

Here’s my sad Christmas story. But I think it will have a happy ending:

In 2015, our family had annual passes to Disney World. It was a wonderful year of experiences for us. The passes expired right before Christmas, and I decided several weeks in advance that visiting the Osborne Family Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios would be a spectacular finale to our year. I saved this experience for the last night of the last day we could use the passes.

The park closed at 11pm, so I planned for us to finish the day at the lights one hour before closing time. As we turned the corner into the viewing area at 10pm, the lights immediately turned off. I asked an employee and learned they turn off the lights one hour before closing time because of the fireworks. It was printed in the daily schedule, but it never occurred to me to check.

We missed it. And THIS was the final experience of our year at Disney. What I intended to be a joyful wrap-up instead became a discouraging walk to the car.

And it was MY fault.

My family was fine, but I felt terrible. I was so sad. Truly, I felt overwhelmed.

On the car ride home, I processed why this experience was causing me so much pain. Was I really SO miserable because we didn’t get to see dancing lights? No, this wasn’t about how I felt about the lights. This was about how I felt about ME. I was converting my pain into self-rejection… self-hatred. I spend a lot of time and energy trying to succeed at everything, but, in this moment, I failed.

I wasn’t sad because we missed the lights. I was hurting because I was the cause of it. And I was having trouble dealing with my imperfection.

I started wondering how often I was unconsciously doing this to myself. I quickly realized that it was TOO often. And I am convinced that I won’t be able to grow into the person I want to be if I am battling an unhealthy sense of inadequacy when I fail.

I want to be a person that can set off on bold, risky journeys without being destroyed by the adventures that don’t work out. I want to release the fear of failure, knowing there is grace for me when my plans and performance aren’t perfect. I want to know even deeper in my heart that I am NOT a failure when I fail. I am committed to growth, but I want a more abiding sense that where I am today is enough.

This is my spiritual quest for 2016. I believe God and the people who love me will walk through it with me. And I believe this sad story will be redeemed into a happy ending. I look forward to sharing THAT tale of victory with you in the days ahead.

Sending love & hugs to you and to everyone on the heroic journey with you.