During this year, I failed a couple of times. Those failures shaped me. I learned from my mistakes and understand God better. If that's the case, those shortcomings are worthwhile. I simply have to go for it again. I may change or try a new route but those experiences are valuable. Failures never makes anyone a "lesser" believer.

Failures are bound to happen because they are a part of life. Pretty straightforward, huh? You'd think so, but there are shallow people who tend to overspiritualize and view the world in a romanctized perspective. Some people without understanding tend to measure spirituality by success, fame, prestige, position, acquisition of wealth and when things are going well and perfect.

Overnight and effortless successes are a naive fantasy. It is rare and the exception rather than norm. Some Christians tend to use religious terms and cliches to validate that naive fantasy. It is a false idea that seeking God's will does not involve new challenges, perseverance and failing once or several times. Some think that seeking God's will and calling is an effortless path and everything falls right effortlessly all the time. Yes, God guides but that does not mean that there is no contribution from our side. We are not puppets on strings.(This may depend on where you stand on the spectra when predestination and free will are at polar ends).

Risk-taking for the right reasons is worth it.

Life is meant to test your and thus your heart, spirit and mind are refined and polished. Failures are bound to happen because that's reality and that can be used for God's glory. Faith helps a person get through it.

Some Christians tend to be too spiritual that they have no use in the real world.

Failures are also great because it tests the loyality and sincerity of people in your social circle. People are funny. It is a sad reality even with godly people. When I am successful, it is amazing how all the sudden I have many new friends. People will constantly compliment, flatter, and say things like "God is great" "You are such a woman of God, woman of faith, and see how God is using you..." The same people will talk about how great I am and such.

On the flip side, if something fails, the same people would not talk to me or even want to associate with me. The people would think I have spiritual issues. Some would want to give me all the standard, cliched responses and authoritatively advise me in the most patronizing manner possible, even on things that are not their area of expertise also known as Christianese. It seems like an easy trap for many people. Why does it happen? Some Christians are only interested in getting a sense of spiritual superiority over other people rather than really being there for them. The people will tell me that I'm not following God's will. And my measure of godliness according to a scale would drop. Failures tend to uncover the attitudes and actions of people. Yes, it will disappointing to find out how many fake people exist, especially in churches. From personal experience, I learned that the more a person talks in cliches, Christianese or puts on an act, or superficial the better to avoid those types.

Yet, I rejoice because it gave me a chance to discover the people who are genuine and sincere. Throughout life's failures and successes, they are truly supportive, accepting, and encouraging regardless of circumstances. Life would not be the same without them. Never forget them. They are true gift from God and rare these days.

Indu Shanmugam