As a stranger to success, I subscribe to the belief that failure can teach a lot. Since I've had many of them, I should be one of the most learned man on the planet. For example, here are a few:
1. In 2006 I tried to start a military men's Bible study in Murphy Canyon Military Housing, a community of 2300 family units in San Diego. After several flyers, a few announcements, prayer walks, and three meetings of one, I closed the meeting. That humbled me a great deal.
2. In 2009, my pastor asked me to start a military outreach program at our church. I contacted several people who knew how to go about doing this, brought several guys from my ship, and had a running prayer list for about six months, but we couldn't make anything else work. There were several factors in play in this situation, but suffice it to say that it didn't get to where the vision wanted it to go.
In no way am I saying that I haven't succeeded in the last several years. God has done many things through me and the talents he gave me. My career has gone quite well lately, I led an amazing Bible study on the ship, baptized one sailor, led two to Christ, and helped many rededicate their lives to the Lord. I look forward to even greater things in Great Lakes. Yet I have seen several failures in the last four years as I tried to move closer toward some sort of vocational ministry.
What does that teach me?
It taught me to be unafraid to fail. Seriously...I'll try anything now. We'll fire off a few weeks or months and see what happens. If it doesn't work, we'll close the ministry down. Failure, as long as it doesn't directly involve a human soul, is not the end of the world. I'm extremely humbled by my failures (this list is not exhaustive, by the way). It's good to be humbled by failures. But if they can teach you anything, let them teach you this:
Don't be afraid of them anymore.