I also learned that trying to do things too quickly and efficiently often backfires. We ended up spending far more time in damage control than we did in organizing the mentoring program in the first place. If we’d started small with a few people, we would have learned a lot and saved others and ourselves much grief.
Finally, I realized we had forged ahead without taking time to pray about the project. We said a few perfunctory prayers, but we listened to human voices far more than we listened to God’s still, small voice.
Don’t Let Failure Haunt You
I was a bit gun shy after that experience and afraid to try anything for fear of failure. But as I spent time evaluating what went wrong, I realized some things had gone right. At least a few of the pairs we’d assembled really worked. Some had found help and hope through our failed project, and that gave me encouragement. It helped me understand that God often works in small ways rather than the big, splashy ways in which I always want him to work. I even went so far as to feel that our failed project was worth it for the sake of those few, since they were truly helped. That gave me courage for future projects—the sense that God was doing something in and through our efforts, even when they seemed like failures. After all, he is the master of turning failures around. I am proof of it.
In retrospect, I am thankful for the failure. It taught me that God works in relationships, not in programs. And when I humble myself, I draw near to him, which is far greater than all the successes I can boast. I came to see that success and failure are not black and white—they are mixed, muddy, and gray. Only God knows the true success of any project as he tackles the deep work of rooting out sin and replacing it with his light and life in each and every heart. I came to see that as the true goal of any project—a place I could get to only by deeply lamenting my failure.