Last week I wrote about being successful and fruitful and how those qualities direct our paths more than our education, training, experience, or plans. I believe when God allows us to be fruitful in a certain way, He is illuminating a road before us that might have been dark and mysterious.
Today, I am flipping this situation around to explore failure.
I am not referring to moral failure or sin-based failure. That kind requires personal repentance and a process of restoration.
Failure to meet expectations, rejection of your work, failure to choose the best course of action, failure to perform, failure for things to work out, or any of the other myriad ways we strike out are entirely different.
This kind of failure leads to deep disappointment, but you don’t need to ask for forgiveness unless the reason behind it was a moral failure on your part.
Setbacks are not the same as a moral stumble, but they are still a powerful influencing force.
How you deal with setbacks can cause your life to swing one way or the other. It can paralyze you or energize you.
The important response to any kind of failure should be to humbly ask God, “What are You wanting to teach me through this?”
Overcoming setbacks in the publishing process is the key to whether you have any future at all in the literary world. I can say the same thing about being an agent, a publisher, business person, or whatever role God planted you in.
Publishing is a “failure” business. If you meet expectations half the time, you will be in someone’s publishing Hall of Honor. Achieving a measure of success is a wavy graph consisting of ups and downs, setbacks and switchbacks.
To illustrate this perfectly, I was playing Candy Land (the worst game ever invented other than Chutes and Ladders) with one of my granddaughters not long ago. And I was thinking, This must have been invented by someone in book publishing! Seemingly by pure chance, you win or lose.
Just when you are making it to the finish line, you draw one of those evil candy cards and get launched back to the bottom of the board. Yep, this is exactly like publishing, I thought. (They’ve made all sorts of versions of Monopoly, so maybe someone should create a book-publishing version of Candy Land. Too bad the title Sorry is already taken.)
Defeating a setback begins by remembering you are not a special target for God’s wrath, but a child of a good Father who wants you to mature and grow stronger and more courageous in your faith.
More often than not, we grow more in our faith walk from a setback or failure than a blessing.
Ask God to show you what He is doing in your life through this situation. Make a new plan. Keep learning. Never give up. Try again. Rinse. Repeat.
The pathway to success is through setbacks. If you haven’t seen much fruit from your writing, maybe you haven’t had enough setbacks to hone your battle plan.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:3-5, NLT).