Have you ever had a good fail, big or small, just an all-out fail? I had one just last week. What amazed me with this particular fail was that while it was such an ordinary situation, something it seemed like I’d done many times before, this time was different.

You might laugh at how trivial my fail sounds. I’ll be the first to admit that while it wasn’t a life altering fail, it was one that gave me clear reminders about life.

So what was my fail? Here goes…  A few weeks ago, I started a gluten free diet. Almost immediately I was out of town for a work conference. Every meal time and break time served as a reminder of everything I couldn’t have.  After that initial challenging time of adjustment, I just wanted to sink my teeth into a real treat, not one that tasted “modified.”

I pulled out my best Toll House Cookie recipe and began to whip up what I anticipated being the most amazing chocolate chip cookies ever. I made the appropriate substitutions based on my new eating plan, put the cookies in the oven and waited. The sweet aroma of the baking cookies soon filled my kitchen fueling my anticipation. When the timer rang, I opened the oven door surprised by what I found.

The cookies had completely lost their form and were one giant melted mess not much thicker than the aluminum foil that they now appeared to be one with. The “cookies” were so thin, I couldn’t pick any portion, even with a spatula. In fact, the only way I could remove them from the sheet was to use a spatula to squeegee the sheet. I proceeded to drop the shapeless goo into a square storage container, and promptly walked away from it, defeated.

My cookie fiasco reminded me of the many ways it looks like when we have a “fail” in life:

  • My situation didn’t resemble anything at all like I set out to achieve.
  • It looked completely and utterly unsalvageable.
  • Our fails often blindside us, where we least expect to find them.
  • It left me feeling disappointed, discouraged, and defeated.
  • And, sometimes when we have a big fail, we feel just like my cookie goo – like we’re no more than a puddle of our former selves.

Imagine my surprise when the next day I lifted the lid to the container and found my “goo” had solidified into a cookie bar consistency. It was actually quite good! In fact, I will make my squeegeed goo bars again!

As I enjoyed my cookie bar, I realized that I was given a few valuable reminders that can apply across life’s many disappointments:

  • Our situations can appear unsalvageable.
  • Our despair or disappointment can be immeasurable.
  • We can feel as though there’s no hope.
  • But, when we scoop ourselves up, even if we’re an unrecognizable mess, and place ourselves and our troubles into the best possible container of all, God’s hands, we’re reformed into something new, something even better, something we never saw coming.
  • Our reward is sweet, success replaces failure, hope replaces despair, and a promising path replaces a dead end.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lam 3:22-24 NIV

I’m happy to say that since experiencing my awful goo failure I’ve adjusted the recipe and have made some amazing gluten free cookies. I do have to say, I’m kind of glad they didn’t come out the first time…. I’d rather have this reminder and great perspective on life’s failures. And, now I have a great cookie recipe and I’m pretty sure I invented the squeegee cookie bar.

Did my cookie mess remind you of any lessons failure has taught you? Or, has it given you a much needed perspective shift? I’d love to hear what you think! Join the conversation.

Susan Call - Author

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