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Failure Vs. Failed

Life is hard and often brutal.


Emotionally things are tough at times, and the physical and spiritual challenges many of us face every day are draining. 


I know I’m not the only person to have a tough year. A few things, like a pandemic, alongside some political and racial unrest, made 2020 terrible.


Without question, this will go down as my most challenging year ever. And when you’ve lived as many years as I have (and I survived the 60s), that’s saying a lot.


After a blowout with my dear wife a couple of weeks ago, I thought to myself, “I’m a failure.”


I’m a failure as a husband.


I’m a failure as a dad.


I’m a failure as a friend.


I’m a failure as an author.


And, I’m a failure as a pastor.



A few of you are thinking right now, Yep, about time that guy figured out how messed up he is!


Others might be shaking their heads or picking up the phone to assure me I’m not that bad. (Gee, thanks.)


I’ll be clear: I’m not fishing for compliments or wallowing in my misery—no need to call the suicide hotline on my behalf.


I’m just telling you how I feel (at times).


Sometimes, I wonder what’s wrong with me.


Sometimes, I question my calling.


Sometimes, I look at all the relational and leadership mistakes I’ve made, and I disgust myself.


Sometimes, I doubt if my dreams will ever come true.


Sometimes, I ponder why I don’t have more friends (or why I lost the ones I had).


Sometimes, I read a truly great book (like anything written by Bob Goff), and it makes me wonder why anyone reads anything I’ve written.



I could go on, but you’ve heard enough, I’m sure.


Yes, it does sound like a pity-party, huh?


But here’s another thing to consider: Most of you, at some point in your life, have felt the same way.


You look at what you have or don’t have, or at what you’ve done or haven’t done, and you think, I am a failure . . . . 


(For the .001% who cannot relate, I am truly happy for you, but this blog is for the rest of us who struggle from time to time.)


Okay. So what? Why are you such a Debbie-downer, Kurt? Thanks for sending me into another nosedive, Bubna! If I wanted to face my failures, I’d call my mother!


I know.




But here’s the point, and I want you to read the next line very slowly:


Just because you fail doesn’t make you a failure.



We all fail. Everyone. Often. 


It’s called being human.


We all blow it (and some of us regularly).


Uh, and how can I say this gently?


I suggest it’s time you get over the fact that you’re not perfect.


Stop focusing on what you did wrong, and simply keep failing forward. 


In other words, face it, own it, and keep growing.


Feeling sorry for yourself and wallowing in self-pity about being a failure is dumb. Whining and self-flagellation is foolish and a waste of time and energy.


Why? Because if the God of the universe says you are okay—you’re okay. (And He does say that about those of us who are in Christ.)


If God, who knows everything about everything and knows me better than I know myself says, “Kurt, you are chosen, and special, and royal, and holy” then, who am I to argue with Him?


Jesus knows I fail.


God is never as surprised by my failures as I am.


Yet, the one who loves you and me more than His own life never calls us a worthless failure.


We fail, but we are not a failure in His eyes.


You and I are priceless and precious to our Heavenly Father.


We are broken, yes.


Imperfect in practice, yep.


We fail at times, indeed.


But we never need to live under the label: Failure.





Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient.

We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures.

Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.

But—when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love,

he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done,

but because of his mercy.

He washed away our sins,

giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:3-5 (NLT)

Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna has published seven books, is an internationally recognized blogger, conference and retreat speaker, as well as an experienced life and leadership coach. Bubna has over forty years of experience working with individuals, teams, and a wide variety of business and non-profit organizations.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Patricia Kirk

    I don’t remember where the verse is but Paul said “I don’t even judge myself. God judges me.” It’s a lot easier if I let Him do that. He’s kinder to me than I am.

    1. KurtBubna

      So true, thanks for adding to the post, Patrick.

  2. Lisa meyer

    Not sure if sharing on your blog is appropriate since I dont know you (I dont do social media), but I wanted to say that although I havent yet met you or have been able to attend Eastpoint in person, your sermons & blog deeply resonate with me during this time in my life of coping with transition as I make decisions to fix the things I can about myself & my life, & dealing with overwhelming health challenges. Im housebound for now, and have been going through your past blogs & sermons to find guidance & inspiration to get my life back on track with God. Thank you for your gift of words from the heart.
    Prayers & blessings for you & your family, & so glad you’re a fellow Boomer, I have an impossible time relating to pastors who didnt experience the 60s & 70s.

    1. KurtBubna

      Hi Lisa, thank you for the encouraging words. And yes, all comments are always welcome. So glad you are getting blessed. Boom on!

  3. Kristen Stinson

    Thank you, Kurt! I can totally relate!

    1. KurtBubna

      Thanks, Kristen. Love and miss you guys. Hope all is well. You are loved!

  4. Glenn

    Sometimes we have to go backward to move forward. How many times does a baby (or us) fall before they (or us) walk? The baby never quits though until they move forward and neither should we. The key is adapting and adjusting to change and realizing that God has given us everything we need to always go forward no matter how many times we fail. He gives us the power, the sword and shield and armor, protecting us from the hurt and pain of our stumbles. And He does it by also giving us grace, mercy, blessings, and forgiveness the whole time. God loves all of us no matter how many times we fail 24/7/365! If He is for us, who can be against us?!!! ✌

    1. KurtBubna

      Thanks for adding to the conversation, Glenn. Great insights.

  5. Sharon Hughson

    Thank you for the encouragement. I’m on the back side of creative burnout and working hard on a new novel in a new genre and second-guessing myself every other day. After all, if I lost all my previous book contracts ( I did. Thanks 2020), what makes me think I can succeed in this new genre?
    Simple. Faithful is He who called me, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24, personalized to me). The God who called me to it will lead me through it. I either believe that and lean into him. Or I don’t.
    If I don’t, that’s the real point of failure.

    1. KurtBubna

      So sorry it’s been extra hard. Praying for you, Sharon. You are loved.

  6. Sherry

    Very timely Kurt! I was just telling myself what a “failure “ I was! What a sinner, how could I be of any use to God? Will I ever get it right?
    But like you said, “If God says I am loved and precious in His sight, who am I to argue with him?”
    Thanks Kurt!

    1. KurtBubna

      Glad in encouraged you, Sherry. You ARE loved!

  7. Bishop Dr. Noah Muzeya

    Powerful and a reality. God bless you and continue using you Pastor Kurt ( My mentor / Dad)
    Bishop Dr. Noah Muzeya

    1. KurtBubna

      God is good! Thank you for your kind words. Blessings!

  8. Chris Vickers

    I can totally relate to this! Thank you for giving us permission to stop focusing on what we did wrong, see ourselves as God sees us (in Christ) and keep failing forward.

    1. KurtBubna

      Thank you, Chris, we all share this human condition, but thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. Love you guys.

  9. Kevin

    Why is it so easy to listen to the voice of “The Accuser” than the voice of the Father? I’m reminded of the words of the song: Good, Good Father: “…and I’m loved by You, that’s who I am, that’ who I am…” . Love you brother.

    1. KurtBubna

      Love that song…and that truth. Love you too!

  10. Douglas Fisher

    WOW! Well said! Churchill said” Success is not final and Failure is not fatal It is the courage to continue that counts.”

    1. KurtBubna

      LOVE that quote! Thanks for adding to the conversation, Doug.

  11. Tina P Miller-Ayres

    Thanks for being human like the rest of us.

    1. KurtBubna

      Love you a ton, Tina. (And yes, I am very human!) 🙂

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