The Year of 40: Learning to love my failures
by Christie Browning
**Author's note: This blog series is a year-long installment which will chronicle the year that I turn 40 with some comical moments, retrospective insights and empowering calls to action.
When it comes to the roadway of mistakes, I have logged a lot of miles and traveled far. My almost 40 years has been marked by bad decisions and failures. My knees are scraped and bruised from falling time and time again.
Recently, I was chatting with a good friend about my turning 40 soon. She reminded me that at 40, half my life is over. We laughed at the little joke she was making at my age, but the reality is she's not far from the truth. For a moment, I felt panicked and for the first time, I could hear the clock ticking in my mind.... the sound of time running out. It got me thinking about days wasted and years spent making and paying for mistakes.
Although hindsight is 20/20, and there are plenty of things I might choose to do differently if given the chance, I don't want to walk into my midlife milestone with regrets. In fact, I've made it my mission to live my life with passion and purpose... along the way, I hope to grab a few other gals to join me in living their lives the same way!
Theodore Roosevelt said,
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
I LOVE that quote. It's from a speech he gave in Paris in 1910. Even though that was more than a century ago, the sentiment is timeless and resonates within me. Maybe it resonates with you?
LIfe, greatness, significance, purpose... it doesn't exist just for the critic or the perfect. It exists and counts for the one, like myself, who is a bit scrappy, who may be a bit war weary, who has scars and bruises to show for the times they have tried, failed and tried again. This is me. I stand dirty, tired, bruised, sweaty and a little bloody from life -- sometimes my own doing, sometimes not. I have mistakes and errors that would run 100 miles long and have come up short in the "get it right" department. But I have tried. I have picked myself up, dusted myself off, slapped a bandage on those cuts and fought, fought hard, to come back and try again.
Why? Why fight, why try, why get up and go again? To be honest... there have been times when I have wanted to just lay down and give up. There was a specific time when I wanted to die... when I actually considered ending my life. But something, rather Someone, prompted my heart and reminded me that I was given life... and life abundant. I was promised a future with my Heavenly Father. I was created for a purpose, for a plan, and for a Kingdom influence. And I pulled, clawed, crawled my way back to the place where I could stand and face the next blow life wanted to throw at me.
I remember a moment, very vividly in my mind, where things shifted from living in pity to walking in power. I was in month three of my one-year prison sentence. I had spent the night face down on the floor praying, crying out from the guts of my being and the depths of my soul for God to forgive me and to take His place in my life once again. When it was over and the prayer was done, I picked myself up and carried myself across the prison yard to my cell. I remember saying out loud...
"God, we have nine more months here together. Let's make them count. Whatever you're going to do in me, let's get to work because I am not leaving this place the same as I was when I got here."
I knew in that moment what Roosevelt said, that if I failed, at least I would fail while daring greatly. I was done living in passive, mediocre tones and with a fearful, timid spirit. I was the first person to make the #liverevised pledge... that I would be broken no more, but would embrace the redemption God offered me, that I would walk in the Truth of who I was created to be and that I would act like the daughter of the King.
Looking back over the past 40 years, yes there are lots of mistakes, but with each one, I was gaining my power, my footing, my lesson. Looking to the next 40 years I know there will be more mistakes, but I am voraciously passionate about living these next 40 years always "daring greatly."
So, how about you? Will you join me in the #liverevised pledge, to live the life you were created for? You are not damaged goods. You have not fallen too far. You are not broken into so many pieces that Heavenly Father can't love you back to whole. The great thing about God... He's not a one-and-done type of Father. He has mercy and forgiveness and grace for you and for me... more than you could imagine.