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Monday, June 30, 2008

Life, and Writing, Seldom Go As Planned


This excerpt is from today's Daily Devotional from Liveprayer.com. It seemed to speak to writers.

Let me share some insights with you that I have found to be true in my life
and I am sure you have found in your own life. It is in our failures that we
learn life's most important lessons and grow. Nobody wants to fail, but the
only person who has never failed is someone who has never tried. Failure is
part of life. It is something we all have to experience from time to time.
The key, however, is how do you respond when you fail? How do you respond
when life doesn't go as you planned?

Winning, losing, succeeding, failing, these are all concepts that we begin
to learn as children. Playing games is something all children do, and
quickly we learn there are winners and losers. During our childhood we try
many things, music, sports, different hobbies. Again, we quickly learn the
joy of succeeding in the things we do and that empty feeling when we fail.
While it is important to keep winning and success in perspective and learn
how to do both with humility, it is even more important to learn how to
handle defeat and failure, as well as the lessons they can teach us.

The first lesson in losing, in failing, is to take personal responsibility
and not blame other people or anything else. Having spent 31 months of my
life in Federal Prison, having ministered these past 18 yrs to tens of
thousands of men and women who are incarcerated, I can tell you the biggest
problem I see with people in prison is the refusal to take personal
responsibility for the choices that put them in prison. Most people you talk
to who are in prison will tell you they are there because of what this
person or that person said or did. They are not willing to accept
responsibility that they are there because of the choices THEY MADE. A
person who is in prison will never be able to move forward and turn their
life around until they are ready to accept personal responsibility for THEIR
choices.

Whenever we lose or fail, it is always easy to sit back and make excuses.
Some of those excuses may even be valid. However, rather than investing the
time and energy into finding excuses why we lost or failed, it is far more
productive to look at the role WE played in our loss or failure. You learn
nothing by blaming someone else or making excuses. When you sit down and are
honest to look at yourself, at the choices you made that contributed to your
loss or failure, then you are able to learn from the mistakes you made and
hopefully not repeat them in the future. We can all learn much from our
losses and failures in life if we will simply be honest with ourselves and
take the time to analyze our thoughts and actions so we can identify what we
did wrong.

The second lesson in losing, in failing, is to not let our loss or failure
paralyze us from trying again. Some people become so devastated by losing,
by failing, that they simply refuse to try again. My friend, losing and
failing are part of life. As I said earlier, the only people I have met who
have never lost or failed are people who have never tried. You can't be
afraid of losing or failure. Nobody likes to lose. Nobody likes to fail.
However, you will never win unless you also lose and you will never succeed
unless you also fail. Rather than being paralyzed by losing and failing, let
them motivate you. Learn from your losses and failures so that you don't
repeat the mistakes and poor choices you made that led to them. Instead of
losing and failing making you weak, they can make you strong.

*LET ME SAY THAT ONE MORE TIME SINCE THIS IS A POWERFUL THOUGHT. INSTEAD OF
LOSING AND FAILING MAKING YOU WEAK, LOSING AND FAILING CAN MAKE YOU STRONG!

The third lesson in losing, in failing is this, THERE IS NO FAILURE WITH
GOD! In the process of serving the Lord, we will always have times and
experiences when we feel in our flesh that we have failed, that we have let
the Lord down. That is a lie from the pits of hell! THERE IS NO FAILURE WITH
GOD! You can't fail when you are serving the Lord. The only way you can fail
is to NOT serve Him! God uses our obedience and faithfulness in ways we will
never see or understand until we get to Glory. The reality is, when we are
yielded to the Lord, God uses our lives to do incredible things that we
never even realize.

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