Sunday, April 15, 2018

Failure Is Not Forever

by Andy Lee @WordsByAndyLee

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Don’t be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9)

“Do you know how you get from one mountaintop to the other mountaintop?” a good friend asked one day as we chatted over afternoon coffee.

I visualized two mountains, and then I could see it. I knew her answer.

“To go from one mountaintop to another, you must go down into the valleys” she explained. 

I chimed in, “And going down is more dangerous than going up!” At least, that’s always been true in my case.” 

I remember hiking up a small “mountain” in Oklahoma with my 4-H camp counselor. I was fine on the way up, but on the way down my nine-year-old feet raced down the steep incline. Loose gravel caused my footing to falter, and the result was a bloody knee and wounded pride. It hurt like crazy. My trek down mountains have never been the same. I’m always way cautious and fearful of falling.

Mountaintop Experiences
Most of us have experienced a mountaintop-moment in life when we feel on top of the world. We feel close to God. Joy overflows. We’ve found success for the moment, and it feels good, the scenery around us hued in a rosy glow. 

But the mountain-top feelings never last. It’s not that we must come down, but there’s always another mountain top in view. Sometimes it’s God’s vision. But many times, it’s the world showing us where we’ve not measured up, what mountain we need to climb next.

I find this true in the publishing world. Your first mountain to conquer is the coveted publishing contract. Your baby is printed and available for the world to consume, but only a few thousand readers want to consume it. It’s hardly a bestseller.

Suddenly you find yourself trudging down the mountain. You’re discouraged. You’re tired. You don’t feel like you’re cut out for this industry. You may even feel like a failure.

But God whispers, “Have I not commanded you?”

The Hebrew word means, appointed or called. “Have I not called you?”

“Yes, Lord,” you reply.

“Then don’t be discouraged.”

Failure is Not Forever
We become discouraged when we don’t see ourselves measuring up to others’ successes. When we measure our career to theirs, it appears we’ve failed. And that’s when discouragement can eat us alive.

Peter understood this. He really did fail. He denied Jesus when He needed him the most. So, Peter went back to his old job. He climbed back into his fishing boat.


Peter’s failure did not stop Jesus from loving Peter or reinstating his work for the Kingdom. Look closely at this sweet conversation. Maybe it will speak to your soul as it did mine. 

“Simon, son of John, do you truly love memore than these?”
“Yes, Lord, he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me? He said, “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep . . .” (John 21:15-17). 

I see two things that Jesus asked of Peter: to love Him and to feed His sheep.

Two things.

Are you discouraged? Do you feel like you’ve failed? My friends, success and failure are both dependent on perspective. Maybe God has shown you the next mountain to climb, or maybe that mountain view is only the world calling you. 

But one thing is for sure. What’s important in our writing is our love for Jesus and the call to feed His sheep with the words He gives us. Don’t be discouraged. 

There’s a blessing to find coming down the mountain. The soil is more fertile in the valley. 

There’s a lot of writing material there. 


Andy Lee is the author of A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called and The Book of Ruth Key Word Study: A 31 Day Journey to Hope and Promise. She is a blogger, inspirational speaker, Bible teacher, and empty-nest survivor. Join hundreds of viewers on her Facebook Live broadcast Monday-Friday for the Bite of Bread, and visit her website at where Andy provides resources to help you dig deep to live fully.


  1. Amen Ms. Andy! Amen! Thank you so very much for this post. You have blessed many this morning with your humble words and gentle spirit. God's blessings ma'am. Remember always, it's in the valleys where we grow the most.

  2. A beautifully inspiring, timely, and relevant post. Thank You. It ministered to me. Many blessings!

  3. Thanks, Andy. Great advice. When I hear Mountain Top, I think of Amy Grant's Mountain Top about spending time with God on a mountain top to prepare us for our life in the valley. He has called each of us to a special adventure.

  4. Thank you so much for this one, Andy! Yesterday, I took my daughter hiking at the State Botanical Gardens at the Univ. of Georgia for my fashion blog. I was in new spring sandals, and was decidedly cute. Well, being significantly overweight and in new shoes took it's toll. Today, I'm wrapped up in a blanket on the couch with my cat, a bottle of Motrin, and blisters on my feet. I may have done too much too soon.... On the drive down, I signed up with a coach to help me lose the weight. So yet another mountain. Only God's timeliness could do that.

    Laurie Epps

  5. Wow, how nice it would be to stay on the mountain top. I get very discouraged when I'm working and working to do my part at the 'marketing' thing and the numbers don't change for the better no matter what I do. I'd be tickled to have a few thousand like and buy my books. Not that I have anything published yet, but it seems like I don't even have friends let alone...Ha. It may not really be funny, but this article really puts it into perspective. God didn't call me to whine. I don't have to please anyone but Him. Thanks a bunch. Donevy