recovering man

5 Biblical Steps to Recover from Failure

Failure. It’s become such a big word in our ultra-competitive culture. And it’s not just the word for when you don’t succeed. We’ve started using it as a title for those who lose big. And when we’re at our lowest, it’s what we think of ourselves. Plenty of events can reduce us to rock bottom. Failures in our personal lives, our careers or our relationships. It could simply be the feeling that you’ve got nothing going for you. But there is a way to recover from failure. And good news—you don’t have to compete your way out of it or earn it at all.

5 Ways Recover from Failure

1. Give yourself a break and a chance to reflect

Pressure is one of the most common factors that leads to feeling like a failure. It could come from parents, friends or society. While pressure can be good for short-term motivation and focus, it’s not sustainable. So, if you’ve already fallen off the hamster wheel of pursuing success, take it as a great opportunity—to take a deep breath and reassess your life.

2. Identify your metric for success

For guys, the idea of being successful or “a success” starts with their concept of manhood. Turn on the TV and you’ll see no shortage of “success stories” vying for your envy. It could be sexual conquest, making a lot of money or having a lot of power—or some combination of the three. It could be something more wholesome, like an impressive physical pursuit or being a well-respected man in the community. Start by asking, “Is this truly a successful life?”

3. Understand our addiction to approval

What happens when you hit your metric? Are you able to sustain it? You’ll realize how impossible our formulation of success is: “Once I accomplish that, then I’ll be a success.” At the end of the day, these concepts of success are based on approval. We’re trying to win it from our peers, our wives, our fathers or society at large. But the problem is that this approval is temporary. We have to keep proving it for us to believe it.

4. Separate your identity from your performance  

When our concept of success is tied up with our identity, we’re bound to fall at some point. Maybe we were the fastest runner one day, but not the next. What happens when our identity is based on being the fastest? Or being the best husband? Or the best Christian? We crumble and feel like a failure. 

5. Receive your identity from God

The big transformation happens when you receive your true identity as a son from God. You live from it rather than for it. Instead of being stuck in an approval feedback loop, you’re on a journey to find your purpose, become secure in who you are, and make a positive impact. It’s figuring out how to be faithful and true, loyal, honest, trustworthy and authentic.

How do you receive it? Simply by having a personal relationship with God. As you get closer, you’ll become more like Him. But there’s no pressure to keep it up or pedestal to fall from—because you know all the power comes only from Him. It transcends any idea of “success or failure,” as validation (or lack thereof) for your life. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone anymore. In fact, you’re really giving up your life to enjoy the greatest success possible. As Jesus says in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it.”

Here’s an additional tip: Remember, only Jesus was perfect. You’re going to fail. You might drift away from your true identity and fall into the world’s metrics for your success. You’ll puff yourself up when you perform well and feel low when you don’t. But when you get back to focusing on God, you’ll remember life is not about achieving success—and you’ll recover from any failure.  


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