Posted by: mikenicholsblog | October 3, 2016

fail down, get up

It was almost thirty years ago on a Saturday evening. We had been out with another family for the day and I was just relaxing after returning home, sitting on the floor in our family room. Our daughter Lindsay was still very young and was writing something on the side of my face. What should have been fun for dad was getting annoying, and it hurt. So with great spiritual insight (yeah, right!), I asked her what she was doing. She was writing “I love you” on my face. Can you imagine how dumb I felt?  Far too often in life we find ourselves making quick decisions, snap judgments and, in a word, failing others and ourselves.

Because of selfishness for my time, I almost missed a memory that I remember vividly to this day … and that I’m sure I will never forget. Can you remember moments with your family, friends or colleagues where you sensed failure? It could have been in what you said, or didn’t say, or even in your reaction. If you are anything like me, it is easy to see where you have failed yourself, others and especially our Father. God has chosen to let us view the failures of some of His most choice servants as we journey through Scripture. Abraham probably never forgot how he failed Sarah by lying. Moses went to the grave never entering the Promised Land because of one failure. David failed morally and Peter denied Christ. I think it is fair to say, that failure will always be a part of our lives. How then should we view our failures without excusing them?

In thinking on this question, two statements come to mind which help me with perspective. I trust they will encourage you as well. In his book Failing Forward, John Maxwell used words from Mother Theresa that I have never forgotten. She said that “failure is the kiss of Jesus.” Her words remind us that we are weak and need grace from our Lord. How must Peter have felt before Jesus restored him? With all of the demands of our families, jobs and sometimes even churches, it is easy to become consumed and eventually wound those that we love. But when the inevitable failure occurs, we are reminded of our weakness and long for His kiss.

Another quote that has stayed with me over the last few years comes from the song “We Fall Down” sung by Mark Lowry. In the song, these words are repeated over and over: “Saints are just sinners who fall down and get up.” It may sound funny to you, but those words are comforting to me. Christ-followers are going to fail. After all, we are sinners. But when we fall down, we get up and keep going. In Scripture, we see some of God’s great servants failing but then move forward in His grace. “Saints are just sinners, who fall down and get up.” Don’t let any failure keep you from getting up and living with joy.

We all have regrets; we have failed and will fail again. However, if we let yesterday hinder us and allow tomorrow to cause us to fear, we lose today. Look at your failures as “the kiss of Jesus.” Always let falling down be an opportunity to get up. And for goodness sakes, when your child writes on your face, don’t get frustrated!

If you are struggling with a sense of failure and need prayer or a word of encouragement, send us a note at, and we will certainly reach out to you.


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