Coping with failure
It seems to be the word a lot of high school students dread, especially when exam time comes around. Questions buzz through students' minds at night, questions like 'what will I do if I don't get a mark of at least 99%?' and mental images of becoming a homeless person flash in their minds as the ultimate outcome of being a failure.
The fear of failure can drive students to do an insane amount of extra work at school and at home, to try and get the highest grades possible.
The fear of failure drives normally active and lively students to suddenly spend more and more time at their desk, studying (and probably more time on Facebook, talking about how stressed they are). They give up sport on the weekend, they spend less time hanging out with friends, and sadly they stop coming to youth group, Bible Study and church, because they're doing all that study study study!
Ok, maybe I'm over-exaggerating.
Then again, maybe I'm not.
What's so bad about failure? Is there anything wrong with failing?
At first glance, Jesus' life seems like an EPIC FAILURE
I mean, what a life! He had such promise, what with all those miraculous healings and the amazing teaching skills. He claims to be God, so they crucify him. On the cross, people mocked him about being a failure. "If you're the Son of God, then save yourself!" How does Jesus respond? He dies. EPIC FAILURE.
Or was it? The Bible makes it clear that to God, we are epic failures. We've failed to live up to his standards. Yet on the cross, the Bible says that Jesus carries our failures, and his death is the punishment for our failure.
What looks like a fail at first is ultimately a huge success. And to top it off, Jesus rises from death 3 days later.
So what's the answer to Jesus' epic failure?
Putting things into perspective
In the grand scheme of things, Jesus' greatest so-called 'failure' turned out to be his greatest success. He has saved millions upon millions through his death.
When we look at our own fear of failure, we need the same sense of perspective. Not achieving the mark you set out for will not mean the end of your world. You'll still be alive, your family will still love you, you'll still be able to get a job, you'll still be able to live a long life. Most people these days change careers and end up doing something that has nothing to do with what they studied at uni anyway.
But the best thing about perspective is remembering that God will never stop loving you. If you keep trusting Jesus, nothing can undo his greatest success for you, and nothing can stand in the way of him letting you into heaven. Check out Romans 8:38-39.
So sure, aim high, study hard. But don't lose your sense of perspective. Don't drop out of church, youth group, Bible Study, or having friends because you're afraid to fail. Do all that you do, trusting that God is in control, and know that as his child, you have nothing to fear.