How to Predict Your Future Failure
It’s really not too hard to predict what your future failure will be, especially if you’re a leader. But I caution you, you might not want to continue reading, because what I’m about to say is disturbing.
Have you ever said to yourself, “I will never do that”? I have. And when I said it, in a real sense, I bound my will.
There are things in our lives we hide in the basement, if you know what I mean. They are the things we don’t like about ourselves, what we hate in others, and that threaten our sense of value. So we discard them in the basement, lock the door, and throw away the key. We assume they can’t escape, but little do we realize, if left alone, they only grow in power. It won’t be long until they break down the door and make themselves known in our lives.
The things we have denied, suppressed, and locked in the basement will be the cause of our future failure, especially for leaders, because their eyes are too much focused on surface progress rather than buried distress.
St. Paul observed, “For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things” (Romans 2:1). In order to find out what future failure you have growing in your basement, ask yourself these kinds of questions:
What do I most often judge in others? What really upsets me when I see it in others or the world? What sets me off, gets my emotions going? Where do I think others are worse than me? Where I am better than others? What kind of traits or actions annoy me? What are the worst sins?
Whatever the answer is to these questions is the stuff that’s part of your basement story, but you probably don’t even realize it. So the discarded stuff grows unchecked, unnoticed, and unanticipated.
As Paul said, the things we judge in others are the very same things we do, but we can’t see it yet, because we have them buried so deep.
But one day, and this will be both a great curse to you and a great gift, they will make themselves known. If you don’t notice them the first time, then they will make themselves known in a greater and greater way, until they become undeniable.
The goal is not to purge the basement, for that would only create another basement somewhere else in your life, where more demons will gather. The goal is to open the door to your inner life, shine a light, and see what’s down there. Invite God in. Then you can cautiously let out your monsters, one by one, and figure out how to integrate them into your conscious life.
Thus, you become whole, integrated, and your weaknesses will become your strengths; you will no longer be relying on your self-righteous ability to suppress your personal darkness, but on God’s grace to redeem it.
I’m not saying you will fail for certain, but I want you to recognize, leader, that if you’re only looking at all the problems around you, rather than within you, then you are cultivating within yourself future failure.