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Processing Failure

Updated: Feb 7

Let's talk about something that we all experience in life: failure. It's that thing that most people shy away from and try to sweep under the rug. But processing my own failures has actually allowed me to succeed not just on the field, but mentally and spiritually.

As a professional athlete, I've experienced my fair share of gut-punch failures. Dropping a crucial pass, fumbling the ball, or missing a game-winning moment—it's all part of it. But you know what?

Each failure has taught me a lesson that I carry with me on and off the field: It's about how we process those failures that truly defines us.

Beyond football, there are failures off the field that hurt even worse. You can probably relate.

The reality is, that failures aren’t what everyone sees, but they are often what defines how we see ourselves. It’s easy to let the shame of who we wish we had been in a single moment bury us. It keeps us from who we were made to be because each time we try to get back up, it comes in and reminds us of who we weren’t. But that’s a self-reliant posture and when I rely on myself, I’ll fall every time.

True healing and overcoming failure actually don’t start with self-improvement. They start with returning to God when we fail.

I know that sounds difficult, or even impossible. But you don’t have to return to God cleaned up.

Healing begins by returning to God, angry.

Returning to Him embarrassed.

Returning to Him disappointed.

When we do this, we allow God to start working to unravel the damage that failure has done in our lives.

Failures aren’t what everyone sees, but they are often what defines how we see ourselves.

Returning to God isn’t just deciding to go back to church on Sunday or putting on worship music. That may be the product of returning. But truly returning to God starts with a heart posture. It doesn’t start by focusing on your failure, but by turning toward God, letting Him love you while dirty and unsuccessful, and allowing Him to do the work in you. Before you know it, your desires change because of where your trust lies and who you submit yourself to. That’s real trust. Real love. Real vulnerability. That’s coming to Him as you are. Dying to yourself means dying to the idea that you can do it yourself. It looks like following Paul’s words from Galatians:

“For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2‬:‭19‬-‭20‬ (‭NLT‬‬)

Ask God to restore what’s been lost and broken. Ask Him to change what needs to be changed. God isn’t asking you to earn your way back into His good graces. He’s asking you to trust Him with your imperfection so that He can refine you and transform you into something new.

True healing and overcoming failure actually don’t start with self-improvement. They start with returning to God when we fail.

In John 8, Jesus has an encounter with a woman who had been caught in adultery. The religious leaders at that time wanted to condemn her in front of a group. But that wasn’t Jesus’ reaction.

He said, “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:11-12)

Jesus didn’t shame the woman because of her failures; instead, he freed her to live a “life of light.” To leave your life of sin is not to clean yourself up. There's no need to clean yourself up before God because He doesn't even shame you. To leave your life of sin is to make a conscious choice to stop living for yourself. Stop navigating the dark strategizing your way through life and receive a life of light by following Jesus.

Failure introduces heaviness into our lives. It creates worry, rejection, and often hurts the people we love the most. But Jesus offers us a life of light, a life where we can actually walk free of our past and follow him into a future of freedom and light.

Processing your failures with God doesn’t mean you’re going to be perfect on the other side of it, but it does mean you can find true healing. And when we are healed, we stop hurting people out of our own pain and instead, learn to love more unconditionally, just like Jesus does.

Processing failures means that you stop standing in front of yourself as an accuser, condemning yourself. Remember His words, "Neither do I condemn you."

Consider taking your failures to God today. Consider taking off the mask and being your true self with Him, I promise it’s the first step to thriving over surviving.

Live love,


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