When you live overseas, there is a lot that can go wrong. The language is a barrier and words can get mixed up. Cultural norms are different and you are likely to offend or be offended. Some days, you just can’t seem to get anything right. We hate failing and messing up. In his book, Survival Kit for Overseas Living, Robert Kohls writes that two of the most important attributes for expat living are a sense of humor and the ability to tolerate failure.
It’s important that we can laugh at some of our mistakes. We might not think something is funny in the moment, but it’s healthy to look back and chuckle. Tolerating failure can be more difficult. Our world is consumed with stories of success and achievement. We don’t hear much about the plans that went wrong or the projects that never became profitable. Society’s emphasis on success makes us feel like we are the only ones who ever fail.
If you are a regular reader of the Bible, you have learned that God’s people are not perfect. The great thing about the pages of Scripture is that they record failure as well as victory. We read about the faults and sins of many individuals who were struggling to find their way forward. We learn that failure isn’t final and can at times actually help us grow in our understanding and relationship with God.
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)
Don’t worry if some things don’t work out perfectly today. Trust that God is still in control, willing and able to help you through. What’s important is that we know to be human means we will fail from time to time. Just as important to know is that we have a loving God who holds us by the hand.