"Failure can awaken us to life in a much more dramatic way than success ever could."

"Possessing a healthy perspective is an essential key to psychological and spiritual resilience and wholeness. If our attitude is healthy and our spirit sound, then whom shall we fear? In common parlance, how long must we worry unnecessarily? Why should we be upset for longer than is normal when we face the difficulties of daily life?

"One theologian once suggested that we replace the word faith in the scriptures with the word trust. In such a scenario, failure, doubt, and change will lead us to a greater rather than lesser faith. An attitude built on trust (in other words, an attitude of hope built on a living faith) can change how we see and experience everything — including even normally defeating events. In Christ's words: 'If your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light' (Matthew 6:22).

"Embarrassment and awkwardness are the handles that God's redemptive grace holds onto. When failure shakes us, it is really shaking our false images, not our true selves. God doesn't call us to be successful (that's a secular command). God simply calls us to respond. Knowing this lesson of grace and God's gratuitousness is essential if we wish to be caring Christians. The more we are involved in God's work, and the bigger our world of interactions becomes, the more we are apt to make mistakes and have the natural inclination to pull back.

"And yet, even if we succumb to our anxieties and try to withdraw, we won't feel peace; withdrawal offers no guarantee of security. As the humorist Robert Benchley wryly noted: 'My only solution for the problem of habitual accidents . . . is for everybody to stay in bed all day. Even then, there is always the chance that you will fall out.'

"Fear of doubt is another enemy of spiritual and psychological perspective. Former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles once said: 'If you are scared to go to the brink, you are lost.' The same can be said of faith. Faith that does not include risk is often a sham.

"Seeking Greater Spiritual Resilience and a Healthier Perspective ...

"• What situations do you avoid because they seem too risky? Select one that you suspect could lead to spiritual growth and find a way to make it part of your life."