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free to fail

I wrote this a couple months ago for a men’s group, but it hasn’t surfaced anywhere and I keep looking at it with thoughts that this probably isn’t an exclusive message for just guys.  Everyone might benefit.  I went “Patton” in the original copy, so I’m going to expand and soften without trying to remove the passion of conviction.  Hope it sparks some deeper searching.  MDP

Okay, so it’s a strange way of saying it, but have you come to the place in your spiritual journey to fully realize that God absolutely trusts you to screw it up? Yes, I enjoy the question immensely, but it’s imperative that we consider the ramifications.

The freedom to fail is just as important as the freedom to succeed. We’ll never get to Kingdom if we live in constant fear of failure, coercion, or eternal punishment. Us getting it right isn’t a big goal on God’s bucket list. I realize that can be a bit disconcerting, but it’s good medicine for our insatiable appetites for religious fervor. Our spiritual pursuit of God can be splendid and awesome. But, the fervor part that happens because we are still trying to get His attention or approval just blows—bigtime.

Rohr says it this way:

God allows and respects the freedom of creatures, even to the point of rebellion and blasphemy! The realm of freedom is a prerequisite of virtue, just as it is of sin. It is God’s great risk.”

ash pileObviously that’s not an invitation to go bat-ass crazy with stupid decisions. We know better so don’t even go there, but our ash heap can become the invitation to our ultimate healing and restoration. We all have an ash pile. To think otherwise is blatant arrogance (1 John1:8), but that pile of ash doesn’t summarize our identity. It’s our failure that sparks that ever so important refocusing on the brilliance of grace. Free will and freedom of conscience are the key components of the doctrine of grace. Freedom is home base of all our morality. It is the mysterious quality that you feel when you get around a person who is totally secure in God’s love and full acceptance. You won’t feel like you’re being sold something by a desperate vacuum cleaner salesman. You won’t succumb to performance because you’re a member of the club. Rather, you’ll be drawn in because that kind of freedom is deep, secure, and the next destination doesn’t really seem to be all that important.  Right now seems to be as vital as what’s next. Wild-eyed fervor usually won’t allow you to taste the brilliance of ash or wine right now. Don’t be rushed by that spirit.

So, if we’re freer (from God’s perspective) than what we probably realize, how do we make proper choices for ourselves? I know this dumbs it down a bit, but just ask yourself two simple questions: First, does this add value and confirm my life objectives? Second, does this add value to others? If you can be honest in your response to those questions, you’ll usually choose well. Remember, you have permission to screw it up or make it great. Just figure out which one is a priority to you.

Michael D Paschall © 2016
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. January 26, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    It’s a great message that I haven’t forgotten about–it’s in the next edition! Thank God there’s freedom to fail, I do it on a daily basis.

    Love you man!

  2. Cordle, Robert
    January 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Good word!!

  3. braedontabor
    January 26, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Yeah ditto on the good word. Thanks for the reminder that He didn’t give us the spirit of fear. I’m having to battle this every day in school. Reality is, as you pointed out, my getting it right “isn’t a big goal on [His] bucket list.” Love.

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