For they did not take the land by their sword — their arm did not bring them victory — but by Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You were pleased with them.
Psalms 44:3 hcsb
Taking the Land
Great ventures risk great failures and successes. Both are possible. Both can happen simultaneously. All success is not 100%. A good success can most often be found on the end of a trail strewn with flops. And then sometimes the venture is just a big flop. It happens.
Doing faither/daughter summits, we uncovered interesting notes. Teen and twenty-something daughters were asked what they wanted most from dads. The daughters want to be told about failures. Seems dads like to brag about the good and ignore the flops. Daughters want to know. They want to know that dads know that it is okay to flop. All of us need to know it okay to make mistakes.
A young assistant transitioned to a new job. It was a good promotion and I was excited for her and sad to loose her. Rather than say goodbye in person, she left a note. That was strange for me. In the note she explained how hard it was for her to say goodbye. She had learned much and was most grateful that I taught her it was okay to fail, to make mistakes. Her dad made her feel she had to be perfect and she learned to flop and go on when working for me. It so impacted her she would remember for life.
A Big Flop
This year I put together a grand plan for a Tree Festival. It was a huge effort with a lot of design, marketing, announcements, letters, phone calls, and energy. It was a flop. A big kerfuffle. A mash up. A bomb in the wrong direction. And I became exhausted after pouring every excess ounce of energy and pride into it only to have to cancel at the crux point in the exit plan. We were poised to send announcements out across 100 locations and invest thousands of dollars in marketing and I had to cancel due to lack of needed supporters.
It seemed to say, “You are alone. You are a failure.” And more flop followed flop. Energy on another project resulted in the same. A team hit the wall and could not move forward. Three huge flops happened at once with my energy, a core team, and a needed project. Add to that a project at home that crashed. Get the picture. All looked like a flop.
Remember the Alamo
In the war between Mexoco and Texas, the Alamo flop became a rally cry. Can you imagine your battle cry being, “Remember the Big Flop!” Not a bad strategy really. Big flops can be big successes if you learn from them and pursue the goal and the vision not the skirmishes.
Pursue the Goal – Let God Prevail
My sword is not big enough for God ventures. I need His. After and in the middle of the flops, I sought God in prayer. The flops still happened. Even the prayer times failed. People committed and then in six prayer events one person showed one time. Talk about lonely! And then His arm was revealed.
In a series of moves, He pulled back the covers of several big successes in spite of my messes. Partners came along and delivered huge wins for the team that hit the wall, another new team appeared for which we had looked and prayed for years, a helper with specific abilities that we needed joined, and a community event that is more impactful that the festival I planned is in high motion.
The Lord had success planned in every area in which I flopped. Had I succeeded, I would miss His supply and been on my own. Yes, He worked through me, but He did the work. Now I can rest in Him and relax and be restored. What I really needed was a good flop that led me to lean on Him.
Take those flops and learn to lean. He has a mean right arm of power that delivers. He is ready, willing, and able to deliver the right wins even when we flop pitifully and especially when we remember to lean into His faithfulness.
More flops will come. More successes will be delivered. And I learn to lean.