When I failed…

#iRemember | Episode 269
In this post, I’ll touch on two things:
1. When you trusted God that you will pass…and still failed.
2. When you seem to keep failing repeatedly.
So one of us sent me a message the other day (barely two weeks ago) after she saw the result of one of her courses in her Masters Programme. In her very own words:
“…the lecturer has been really strict…in all the three sets of [continuous assessments] which amounted to 30%…I tried all I could…and ended up with 14/30. I PRAYED “EARNESTLY” BELIEVING IN GOD FOR A BETTER GRADE IN THE REMAINING 70% [exams]. I studied hard…he repeated past questions; they were easy and God was faithful to bring all I read to my remembrance… I checked my grade today and I “failed the course”. I just can’t believe it… I just can’t fail! I trust God so much—like without doubt…”
Sounds like what a good number of us could have written. Here’s what I had to say to that…
1. That you trust God so much without a doubt doesn’t exclude failing from your possibilities. In fact, it most certainly adds failing to your options.
FAITH is believing that God CAN do something and hoping unwaveringly that He WILL do it. On a higher plane, TRUST is believing that God CAN do it, absolutely hoping He WILL…and understanding that EVEN IF HE DOESN’T, He’s still got everything in His charge!
2. While writing this paper next year can be disheartening (not to mention the N30,000 you’ll have to pay to register the course next year), it’s not as shameful as you think! Failing is part of life. It happens to even the very best of us. I’m also on a Masters’ Programme currently in the UK and I’d failed one of my modules because I had 49% and the pass mark for all my courses was 50%. That was painful and disheartening. But no, it wasn’t shameful as it turned out that more than half of the class were in my shoes. (Even if it was only me, it still wouldn’t have been a thing of shame).
While others were furious with the lecturer, I went to him (because he had given us the liberty to come and see him in the feedback he sent to all of us so that he can advise us on where we need improvement). I went to him and he pointed out my flaws. I learnt and did better in the Reassessment. (Here, you are permitted to retake a coursework you fail almost immediately afterwards). I had 66% in the re-sit but the programme policy is that no matter what you score in a re-sit (even if you score 100%) as long as you pass it, your overall score for that module is capped at 50%.
So in essence, I went through all that re-sit just to earn an extra 1% to add to my former score. But I wasn’t bitter about it.
So if nothing could be done about this score you have, it’s absolutely not shameful to take it again whenever.
Now to those who are failing repeatedly…
Again, here are a few thoughts:
1. I don’t think that’s normal. You need to ask yourself some hard questions and be sincere with yourself in your response. For instance:
a. Do I really have the capacity to pursue this course that I’m studying?
You don’t bite more than you can chew and expect God to force it down your throat. At best, He will pull off the excess from your mouth and leave you with just that which He had gifted you with a capacity to handle.
b. (Or even more fundamentally) Why am I studying this course?
Why? Because you (or worse still, your parents/guardian) think that this is the only/best course that will guarantee you a bright future? Or because you are sincerely passionate about the course? Or because that’s what ‘the school offered you when you couldn’t meet the cut-off mark for the course of your choice? These reasons aren’t bad in themselves but they have the common element of setting you up for a journey you may not have been equipped to pursue.
If only many can be like my best friend—Daniel. We both gained admission into OAU in 2005. We both didn’t get the course we wanted. I found myself studying Microbiology and he, Zoology. While he had the boldness to take another UTME and eventually got admitted to the course of his dreams—and had to start all over—I didn’t have the same courage. (I wasn’t even sure if I had any ‘course of my dreams…lol)
c. You can’t do it the same way you did it before and expect a different result.
That’s simple but profound!
Before, you were always getting late to the class and you hardly had a good note for the course and this time you hardly even went to class. Tell me, what miracle were you expecting? Before, you did it in fear. Before the results were out, you were scared it wouldn’t speak good. You were right then. If you maintain the same disposition now, chances are high you’ll get the same response.
d. Have I learnt from the previous failure?
If you don’t learn the lesson your failure seeks to teach you, you will make the same mistake again and again!
e. Finally, who is Your King and what is He saying to you about your failures?
The book of Judges in the Bible is a book of an unpleasant cycle that the Israelites kept going through, viz:
They will desert God. God will send an enemy to terrorize them. God will raise a Judge to deliver them from that enemy. They will serve God for a while. Then they will return to deserting God… and the cycle continues! But the book gave us a clue at the beginning and the end of the book—the very last verse in fact. It says ”In those days, THERE WAS NO KING IN ISRAEL AND EVERYONE DID WHAT WAS RIGHT IN THEIR OWN EYES.”
When you live life on your own terms and by your own wisdom, that’s what you get! But when you are led by The King, He surely must have something to say to you for every failure you encounter—IF YOU ASK HIM.
Maybe tomorrow, I will share with you the testimony of a course I took in my second year where I had the highest score throughout my 4 years at OAU and how that came about.
I speak into your life as one that is privileged to have a voice in your destiny that if there be any yoke of failure that has held any of you bound, such yoke is broken permanently by the anointing today.
Here’s a question to #askJesus2day:
“Jesus, can we dance a victory dance together this morning as I celebrate the end of my cycles of failure” [I can hear His yes already—what are you waiting for?]
Lord, thank You for opening a new page of victory for me IJN.
#iRemember is a daily mentoring retrospective look at Chronicles of our past—my wife and I—drawing life lessons from past experiences. It is exclusive to members of Alive Mentorship Group—an online mentorship platform for young adults across the world that provides an avenue to learn practical life lessons across geographical barriers. If you will like to be a part, just click here and/or get added to the Telegram group here.

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