Not-Quite-Wednesday Prayers: Failure

Margaret Mead once responded to a reporter's question about her divorces by saying, "I don't consider my marriages as failures. It's idiotic to assume that because a marriage ends, it's failed."

Bishop Laura gave a reminder recently that the humane view is to recognize that mistakes are learning opportunities.

These two are not identical ideas, but both add up to the same thing: we're mislabeling a lot of things as failures. Perhaps, as I think about it, the only real failure is to keep making the same mistake, the same foolish choice.

I think there's a mental habit to assume that the end of anything is a failure. If we leave a job or a career anywhere but on the top of it (even the WRONG career for us)... failure. If we leave a relationship (despite our being responsible for only half of it)... failure.

No one would say to an alcoholic, "You just haven't tried hard enough to be a moderate, responsible drinker! Don't give up!" But we do that all the time with other decisions that are damaging to people's physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Part of our discernment as people of faith is deciding not just what to take up, but what to release.
God of all wisdom, help me to let go of the things I cannot keep, the things that keep me from being the daughter you call me to be. Show me how to recognize those obstacles that may not be readily apparent, to separate the wheat from the chaff in my own life. Keep me concerned with your views of failure and success, and no one else's; equip me with the quiet strength to keep my eyes on You.
Do you need to let go of a fear of failure, or celebrate a disguised success? Let me know, and I'll gladly wrap your prayers into mine.

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"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins