In the midst of my mother’s grief, seventeen years ago, God whispered a Universal Truth to my mother’s broken heart, and in her brokenness, she was empty enough to listen. That whisper reads like this: “If you give people the Grace to Fail, you Give them the Freedom to Succeed.” At the time, that phrase was impactful; now the more I unpack it, the more I understand impactful is the wrong word. The correct word is revolutionary!
In time that phrase morphed from … the Freedom to Succeed, to … the Freedom to Excel, to … the Freedom to Grow. Here is what you have to understand: it had to morph. Success and Excellence describe an old way of seeing. As my eyes dim and begin to see more clearly, Growth is the vision of the Master Gardener, not success or excelling. Success and excellence see value and worth based on performance. Growth, which is a heavenly scale, defines value and worth on the unraveling of our grave clothes. Do you know what the crazy thing is about Growth? It is all around us. The Creator has left His secret messages all around, but we just aren’t paying attention. Example number one, seeds GROW. Example number two, caterpillars GROW. Example number three, children GROW. There are zillions of other examples, but this is the point: Growth is painted in the Heart of our Heavenly Father. Therefore, as a Coach, a Leader, or a Teacher the standard must be Growth, not Success or Excellence. Success and Excellence will always be easier to sell, because the world’s vision is captivated with performance, but there is a dirty little secret that no one cares to address. If Success and Excellence is the standard, what to we do with those who Fail? Where do those people go? The next question, who has not failed or fallen short? So to me, it sounds like Success and Excellence don’t stand up to the fire. It works when circumstances are going well, but it shatters into a million little pieces when we fail. That sounds like a terrible existence that our Gracious Father yearns for us unravel.
“If you give people the Grace to Fail, you Give them the Freedom to Grow.” Ok, let’s unpack this revolution! Failure and Growth are pinned up against each side of this faint line called, “Limits.” On the left side of the line is Failure, and on the right side is Growth. In order for an individual to do their best, they must close this invisible gap between where they currently are and their Potential (Wholeness). As they close that gap, there is a natural point where individuals start to Fail. Us coaches call them limits. Now, limits are not forever, but they are barriers that slow down an individual from reaching their full Potential (their Wholeness). Those limits sometimes take time for individuals to build-up immunity to overcome those limits. Although that time tests our patience, that testing produces the characteristics in us to push our Limits further towards our Potential (Wholeness), and that is how we achieve Growth! Therefore, you cannot have true Growth without Failure. So, why do we avoid Failure at all cost, if Failure produces Growth? The answer goes back to our vision. The world desires temporary Success and Excellence in a microwaved time-table. They value it more than Eternal Growth; that is until they Fail and are left alone to pick-up their own broken pieces.
So if Failure is instrumental to Growth, then where does Grace fit in? Grace is the undeserved covenant of His presence outside of the confinement of time and circumstances. In simple terms, Grace is the free gift of presence. God is always present, but us as humans can model that for others around us as well. When a person shows up in the messiness of another’s life and chooses to be present in all their circumstances, that’s Grace! And more importantly it’s a glimpse of our Father’s heart.
Therefore, when you give people the GRACE (PRESENCE) to FAIL, you give them FREEDOM (OPPORTUNITY) to GROW (CLOSER TO THEIR WHOLENESS). And that is what gives them the opportunity to experience healing, identity, love, faith, peace, rest, and abundant life. That is who I want to be as a COACH, a life giver and not a life taker.