When I was sixteen I failed the biggest test of my life up to that point. To a teenage boy with dreams of driving on his own, there is no greater achievement than to pass your driver’s test. I spent months planning and studying. All I wanted was to be driving down the road with my favorite band playing on the radio. 

For some of us, the biggest struggle isn’t failing, it’s believing we can succeed after we fail.

As a sixteen-year-old kid who just failed his driver’s test, I had a choice. I could either wallow in my shortcoming and surrender to the notion that I was the world’s worst driver, or I could get focused, get back to studying and try again.

What I didn’t know is 38% of teenagers fail their first driving test. Because of social media, we continually see the highlight reel of others’ successes and feel blinded by our own failures. It would have given me so much freedom to know I wasn’t the only one who failed their first driving test.

Future success is not defined by past failures. Here are three lies we need to stop believing in order to have greater freedom in our lives:

LIE #1: “No one else has failed at the level I have.”

Good news! Other people have failed more than you! People just like you have failed the same test you have failed. Maybe they messed up a relationship, lost a job or forgot to empty the dishwasher (why is that one so difficult for me?).

LIE #2: “I will always be a failure in this area.”

Sometimes you have to fail before you succeed. A quote that I love says, “Great songs are not written, they are re-written.” I’ve come to understand I will not always get it right the first time, but I can learn from it and do it better the next chance I get.

LIE #3: “I am a failure.”

Looking in the mirror and only seeing a failure discredits the wonderful work God is doing in you. Failure is something, not someone. You are not a failure because you fail. 

A verse that always gives me hope and encouragement in moments when I’ve failed is Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”