The really interesting thing about failing is how it actually opens up opportunities. At the very least it teaches us lessons and allowing for failure encourages grass roots creativity. But, too often, we fear to fail and miss the opportunity to do something new. Worst of all, we never get to see who we really could be if we'd just taken that chance.
Success obsessed people don't like to accept difficulties. Consider how badly organisations deal with scandal and how often they try to conceal it.
And, as individuals we're often not keen to welcome troublesome situations either. While we're busy thinking of a thousand reasons why we shouldn't face the challenge, we forget that in reality we're training ourselves to avoid risk and can often miss an opportunity to truly help someone in need.
Worse still, for Christians, when things go wrong, we often blame our practices and, when we've exhausted that, we blame God. It strikes me that sometimes the reason God could choose not to answer prayer is because he wants to shake our spiritual self-importance.
While churches can seem almost like a corporation, counting conversions and boasting about growth, God may be more concerned with how much we're expressing his grace and favour to people.
Dare we even consider how Jesus may have failed? (There are certainly examples of it: not being able to heal many, losing disciples, withdrawing from political heat, weeping over Jerusalem.) He didn't go around driven by success and feeding his ego. And he didn't try to fit people into neat spiritual boxes. Instead, in brokenness, grief and frustration he accepted people in their mess, coped with God's paradoxes and faced up to the call of self sacrifice.
Jesus was very human, he knew failure, pressed on and opened the door to help us realise that God truly cares.
Other examples are plentiful... Isaiah was promised that people would not listen to him. Paul considered himself the worst apostle alive! So the question I must ask myself is this: Why am I not so willing to take the risks that could open new doors?...
I'm not so sure that my ego wants me to find out.