Monday, March 05, 2007

A victory in failure

This Saurday was the final exercise in a disaster preparedness training course some of us at Memorial were taking through the city. (You may have seen some coverage of the exercises on the local news Saturday & Sunday.) The "Dream Team" at the church has a number of goals, one of them being to prepare Memorial to be a site that will respond to community needs in the event of a disaster. Roger and Zeila have begun an *incredible* ministry and I'm really excited to be a small part.

The class has been informative... and if you take it seriously, it's challenging. There was a lot to learn, if you really wanted to be effective with the training. As I mentioned in a previous post - the final exercise was a 4 hour 'disaster simulation' that we were to apply our education to, complete with victims and chaos.

To be honest, I was really scared of this simulation. I've shared before that I'm a recovering perfectionist. So I learned a while ago that if I couldn't do something well, I shouldn't do it at all - avoiding responsibility is a nice way to avoid guilt and pressure. :-) I don't give into that thinking much, but the battle still exists... and this was the first time in a LONG time that I found myself sort of praying to get sick so I wouldn't have to go. At the same time, I really wanted to do it.

You need to understand: I knew I would fail. I'm not sharing this out of some misplaced sense of false humility. The material was a lot to grasp. And in my heart I knew that part of the purpose was to fail. We learn from our mistakes. And if your going to make mistakes with peoples lives, ... better to do it with fake victims and fake blood than in real life. But I don't like failure, fake or real. I don't like making mistakes, I don't like other people depending on me and messing them up. I don't like other people thinking I made a stupid mistake. I don't like other people *saying* I made a stupid mistake. :-) If I can't do it well, I'd rather not do it.

The only thing I don't like even more than all of that is the fruitless, cowardly life it produces.

So I went into Saturday's exercise with a weeks' worth of pent up anxiety, but resolution to do it, never the less. I love our God. I needed His peace that morning before leaving. So I prayed and asked Him to speak to me through His word.

"Bible roulette" is not the normal way I study and listen to Him, but I was beginning a study of Nehemiah in my regular study... and figured that wasn't what I needed for that morning. :-) So I flipped open the bible... and prayed that He would speak to me.

First -it fell to the concordance. Which I didn't think "counted". :-) Until my I realized the heading at the top of the page was "lead." Hmmmm. Could fit for today.
Second - It flipped open to Philippians, where the next two things I read were the following:
"Pressing on toward the goal" - (phil.3:12 )- "...Not that I have already obtained this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. "
And lastly - I looked across the page, and saw this: "No confidence in the flesh" (phil.3:1) - "...Finally, rejoice in the Lord..."

Okay. Seriously, our God is good. I don't even know if all of that falls together for anybody else with the same significance that it did for me, but it spoke loud and clear to me. I went on with the day resolved to listen to those words.

It took me until the last part of the simulation to live up to the "lead" part of what I felt God asked me to try and do. As a result, I recieved some really encouraging words and some good criticism. And in doing it, ultimately, I came and did what I was supposed to. I failed. I tried. I learned.

I think my problem with failure is an authority issue. Worse, it's a humilty issue. God's right to work on it in me.

And instead of obessing over all that I did wrong, (okay, well, I did a little of that with my husband), at the end of it all.... I rejoiced. In Him. For having victory in my failure. For not giving into my flesh that didn't want to fail and hence didn't want to try. I pressed on ... for the goal of the day, but also for the goal of life.. to walk by faith and not by sight.

And I'm impressed, once again, by our God. He's amazing.


Danna said...

I love you, friend! Thank you for sharing this! I looked for you on TV and was disappointed that I didn't see you. I told Doug: "If I see Heather on TV, I am going to scream!" So I guess you saved him from my squeals! :o)

I am so right there with you! I have been struggling lately with Workshop stuff and letting it get to me. As I was reading your post, I realized this is part of what it's about: perfectionism. (I am a "C", you know!) Thank you for these verses. I got it. And it was a lesson for me too.

I love you!

Jeanne said...

Oh, Heather, how do you always know just the right thing to say at just the right time! I love how God speaks through you! I've been struggling with something God calls me to do for Him, but I can't do it perfectly and I feel sooooooooooo imcompetent at it that I've tried every which way to wiggle out of it. Thank you for making perfect sense of the struggle and encouraging me to surrender. I love you!
My favorite "press on" verse is Hosea 6:3

tim rush said...

Did you ever watch Joan of Arcadia? This could have been an episode from that show. (I'd recomend buying the series to everyone!)

You are so good to share with the rest of us how God is working on you. If a disaster hits the workshop, I hope you are close by to write on my forehead with a sharpie.

Terry Rush said...

I used to be a perfectionist. Uh, now you know I'm kidding. I'm not even a mediocritist! I'm a recovering "whatever" (said in your disgruntled voice)!

You bless me. Thanks for rushing head-first into a zone you couldn't control. Awesome.

I love you today!

Neva said...

I can so relate to your post. i am a recovering perfectionist also. I am so glad to get in touch with you. Thank you so much for the comment on my blog. Tell Jason Ned and I both say hi.
Know you will be busy during Tulsa. Peace and prayers to you and yours