|Buffalo Wins! . . . er . . . I mean . . . doh!
If you’re a Steelers fan like I am, you were in a pretty foul mood during the OT period of their game against the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday. The Steelers gave up a 13-0 lead in the second half to find themselves in OT facing sure defeat. But then the unthinkable happened. Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson dropped a certain touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone!
Later, in a post game Tweet, Johnson blamed God for his butter fingers. “I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…”
The Bills outscored the Steelers 16-3 in the second half to force the overtime, but let the victory slip through their fingers, literally, as Johnson dropped the wide-open pass in the end zone.
I have dropped plenty of passes, but I never played organized football and I never played in a big NFL game on national TV. I can only imagine the frustration and embarrassment he must be feeling. It must be a hard pill to swallow.
Johnson was very contrite about his role in losing the game, and letting down the team, but he seemed to pass the buck by blaming his failure on God.
This morning I read an article from youth ministry guru, Doug Fields. He has some wise insight into a proper response in dealing with our failures. it’s not healthy to fixate on failure, but it’s equally disastrous to ignore our mistakes or pass the buck by making excuses.
PAUSE & ADMIT
Once the failure surfaces, it’s usually best to pause and take a deep breath. As odd as it sounds, we want to “rest” in being wrong. When we pause, we take it in and face it and make sure that we don’t deny it or excuse it or run from it. Admitting failure is essential! This admission creates space to reflect on the potential implications. Denial, excusing or running may make one good at avoiding, but it won’t produce growth through failures.
After admission, thank God for his unchanging, uncompromising, and unconditional love. He is present and available regardless of failure. It may look something like this: “I blew it God! I know this is no surprise to you and I’m so thankful that you don’t leave me when I fail.” When you take comfort in God’s constant and persistent love, failure can lead to deeper trust and surrender.
CONSIDER WHAT WHEN WRONG
At some point, it’s time to move into an analytical mode to answer the question: HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? Usually this reflection reveals a poor assumption, selfish desire, or careless impulse. In our experience, most mistakes happen because we’re thinking poorly, self-centered, or just asleep at the wheel. Some mistakes are unavoidable, and discerning the unavoidable, helps beat back the guilt. Also, most unavoidable mistakes are only unavoidable the first time we face them… so we need to learn from them so we can be prepared in the future.
Don’t know about you, but I fail A LOT! Sometimes I realize that I’ve not learned anything from those failures, or have not moved past them. Take Doug’s advice . . . Pause & Admit; Thank God; Consider What When Wrong.