Be a Professional Failure

Failure is a part of life. A man grows from the examination of that failure and doing things differently.

You and I may never meet. But if we sat down over a coffee or cigar to discuss biblical manhood, my perspective may surprise you. I would tell you to become a professional failure. 

There are a couple of things you can bank on in your life:

1. The most important things in your life are hard. They are great, they are satisfying, they are valuable, but they are hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. Work is hard. God uses difficulty to make us look more like Jesus. He doesn’t allow us to avoid difficulties. Like a good shepherd, he walks us through valleys. (Ps 23)

2. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to fail. Despite your best intentions and hard work, in spite of your understanding of purpose and significance, in spite of being clear on God’s call and commands in your life, you are going to make mistakes and sometimes fail in the most important responsibilities in your life.

Try as you might, the above truths are unavoidable. On this side of heaven, doing the right things consistently will be hard. On this side of eternity, you have limitations, weaknesses, character flaws, and undealt with traumas.

These realities make us crave the return of Jesus, but we can’t change them. The book of Proverbs teaches us that a righteous man falls seven times and gets back up again. (Prov 24:16) Don’t miss that! A righteous man falls seven times, but he keeps getting back up.

You can’t change THAT you will fail, but you can change HOW you fail.

Someone capable of growing through their hardships and failures has one distinguishing factor: humility. Becoming a professional at failing requires understanding that humility isn’t an idea or a feeling; it is an action. Learn to respond in humility, and your feelings will follow. Wait to feel a certain way, and you will elongate the seasons of pain in your life.

A professional failure has a unique practice: He reflects on pain for progress.

Failing is painful for good men. We grieve our sinfulness and its effect on our lives. It isn’t a place we want to stay for long. But if we stay in a place of humility we will learn that pain is an incredible teacher. But it does not teach quickly, it requires us to take the time to reflect on it.

Failure is not unique, we all do it. But a man who moves past WHAT his failure was into WHY he failed is a growing man. A man who refuses to assign blame, to accuse others so he can excuse himself, a man who stays neutral and curious is a growing man.

God’s grace means your failure isn’t fatal for you. It was fatal to Jesus. God’s grace means you are free and safe to be humble, ask hard questions, and grow through your worst days. God’s grace means you can get up. So be humble, learn your lessons, and get back out there…we need you.


Tim Dunn is the Lead Pastor at Graceway in Kansas City, Missouri. Tim and his wife of twenty years, Ashley, live with their three children: Noah, Emma and Isaiah in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.  You can follow Mr. Dunn's personal Instagram, or follow Graceway's Instagram.