Try. Fail. Fall. Repeat.

I remember watching my children learn to walk. They’d stand, and then cruise the furniture. It took at while, but eventually they got up enough nerve to let go of the couch and take a wobbly step or two before they’d plop down on their backsides (if they were lucky!).

It looked painful. I think I’d be in traction for a week if I fell that hard on my derriere.

My son was more determined than my daughter. He would fall and get right back up. And fall again. He was like a bouncing Energizer Bunny. Nothing would stop him from getting right back on his feet.

My daughter was different. Every attempt to walk, followed by the inevitable fall, was a Shakespearean tragedy. She would yelp and wail like she had been electrocuted, and then wouldn’t try again for a few days.

Fade to learning to ride a bike…

Basically, it’s the same procedure. I’d hang on to the back of their bike seat while they pedaled down the sidewalk. Hopefully, they’d get up enough momentum to glide when I let go, but that was never guaranteed. There were plenty of wobbles, crashes and slow-mo tip overs. But still, they kept at it until they were sailing down the sidewalk, grins a mile wide on their faces.

In the end, they both learned to walk and ride a bike. They both had to suffer the hard bumps of failure, decide to try again, and then begin the process one more time.

There’s just something inside our children that moves them from sitting to crawling to walking. And from walking to riding a bike. I suppose they learn a lot by watching other children, but I also think that’s how they’re wired. Like the urge to eat and sleep, the call to walk and move is deep and primal. Failure doesn’t crush their spirits for very long.

As adults, we can lose sight of that primal call to courage and change. Failure hits hard, and we wonder if we’re supposed to keep trying. If someone sees us fall? Now embarrassment crawls in on top of feeling useless and unable.

Sometimes, having more worldly experience can be a negative.

Children fail, get frustrated and then try again. Adults fail, and now it’s less about the goal, and more about all the ways we tell ourselves “this might not be for me.”

I wonder why we’re so good at talking ourselves out of things when we are capable of doing more than we could ever imagine. Like our children, it’s going to take an investment of time and experience. Not to mention falling on our backsides. But we absolutely can overcome.

If God is calling you from deep inside to do something for Him, don’t let failure stop you. Let that calling lead you to rise up and try again every time you trip and fall. That strength is in you.

When you finally succeed, you’ll run and ride like the wind.

Your Father will be so proud…

Surrounded by the Spirit on Facebook




71 thoughts on “Try. Fail. Fall. Repeat.

  1. Two of my grands learned to ride their bikes this weekend. Timely story. One of my reoccurring thoughts in this season of life is “If I break a bone, I am in trouble.” So I am hesitate to try many things physically and stay off high ladders. BUT if God is calling, He will provide the means—
    Blessings, Friend!

    • Hi Lulu! Let me tell you from experience, breaking a leg is trouble. I don’t recommend it.

      Congratulations to your grandchildren! It’s always so fun to see them reach a new milestone. I bet they were so excited πŸ™‚

      I just want that kind of excitement to do new things to infect me. That if I miss the mark, I can keep trying instead of giving up! But no more broken bones!!!

      Sunday blessings,

  2. Your words resonated with me… As you know, our lives are one big trauma and I’m actually in bed at the moment as my heart isn’t good – but I have a feeling, well had it for ages really, that there is something I’m meant to do. For the life of me though, I have no idea what! I’m not scared of failure; I just don’t know what it is – I will have to listen a bit harder. Andrina X

    • Hi Andrina! It is definitely frustrating to feel pushed to something, but not know what it is. I think you have it right, listening and patience is the key to finding it. Many people don’t have the ability to recognize a call Andrina, and you do. That’s a great thing. It’s also a great thing to not fear failure. That’s a HUGE gift!

      I’m so sorry that you are in bed and not feeling well. I hope the quiet time will help you, and I’ll be praying for you and your family as well.
      I always love to see you here,

  3. Great post, Ceil…I don’t know about your reply to my post (have to think that over, friend, smiles)—I am not use to getting out of my comfort zone, wink. It takes a lot…anyways…great post. Exactly what I need to see. A happy Monday to you, friend.

    • Hi Linda! Well, you might not think you’re very good at it, but you sure are getting a lot of practice!

      I’m glad you liked the post today, and that it was timely. I think we all need the little reminder that falling isn’t bad. We just don’t want to get stuck there.

  4. Such wonderful insight and encouragement here, Ceil! Yes, as adults, we can forget our primal instinct to “try, try again” and that is such a shame. Interestingly, I read another post today about there being no failure, only lessons learned – what a great perspective!
    Blessings, my friend!

    • Hi Martha! I like that idea of failure being a lesson. Too often I can see failing as an excuse to stop trying. It just means I might not be in the right place, or that I’m not with the right people. It can get pretty confusing, but I know God will lead as long as I keep trying.

      Blessings right back to you!

  5. My moto, Ceil, is : If at first you don’t succeed, give up!

    Either that, or let my wife do it. Women can often do so many things better than men. So why stand in their way? Just let them do it, and we men can watch football on TV.

    Seriously though … on His way to Calvary Christ fell three times. He had been beaten, tortured, mocked and made to carry a heavy cross. Every time He fell, He could have stayed there on the ground and died. But each time He got up, and continued on His Mission … just for us.

    Let that be our example when we fail.

    God bless you and your family, Ceil.

    • Hi Victor! The Lord’s way of the Cross is a beautiful example of falling and rising. I just did a talk that included that thought. If Jesus can show us the way in never staying down, then we can do it too.

      Beautiful thoughts Victor. Thank you as always.

    • Hi Lynn! I hear you with the frustration. It’s hard to keep falling and failing, but it can be very helpful. At least I know that’s not the right way! Children still get up, even though its painful and hard, and I hope to be more like that. When I fail, I need to get up and try again!

      Monday blessings,

  6. Oh what a determined little sweetie greets us at the beginning of this week’s post! You make me more courageous with your words, Ceil. Maybe I will venture forward … just one toe at a time.

    Thanks for sharing bravery and joy and a can-do spirit. Yes, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    • Hi Linda! I love that first photo (which is a stock photo), did you notice the red forehead? This little one has had her share of falling!

      I’m glad you feel more courageous after reading, but you are already brave in my book. You’ve had a lot of challenges this year, and you have worked through them all with grace. Thank you for your example, you inspire many.

      Monday blessings,

  7. The pictures tell the story perfectly and add so much to your thoughtful words. I’m receiving the wisdom of it today because it’s true, whatever is too big for us is not for our God and he helps at a moment’s notice….just like that worried mom with outstretched hands behind her little girl ready to catch her if she falls! Precious.

    • Hi Mary! I’m glad you liked the images that accompanied the post. I really liked them too! I really learn a lot from observing children, whether they are my own or my grandchildren. I see so much of me in them.

      I know that if I fall, I’ll be helped up if I decide that’s what I want to do. And I want to decide that! Children get back up (some quicker than others) and keep working on those milestones, and I need to do that too.

      Happy Monday!

  8. Hi Ceil! It always amazes me how different each child (and adult) can be. Some fall and bounce back up while others are more cautious. This brings up a memory. My mom once said that I started walking at 9 months already, but then I fell and hit my head on a coffee table, and I was at least 11 months before I tried again. It struck me how when we get wounded, it’s harder to pull up the courage to get up and try again. It’s with a lot of things in life, isn’t it? Your last pic message reminds me of a song that goes something like “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world!” Have a wonderful week! Hugs!

    • Hi Trudy! That must have been one nasty head bump! But you did eventually start again, even though it took a while. Maybe there is a great lesson in that too…that we can always begin again, and God will help us succeed. The timing is less important than the effort. I like that!

      Thank you for adding those song lyrics. Good to remember when life throws those curve balls that sweep me off my feet!
      Have a peaceful afternoon, and hugs right back to you πŸ™‚

  9. Hi Ceil, Thank you for these encouraging words to keep on trying. Many times, I have to remind myself that failure isn’t final or fatal, unless I let it be that way. Falling (or failing) is part of the process in learning to do so many different things–like walking, riding a bike, learning a sport, or playing an instrument.

    Blessings to you for this week,


    • Hi Kim! I think that’s exactly the point I was trying to make. Failure, or what looks like failure, is really a way to learn. It’s like feedback that we’d rather not get, but we’ll certainly remember and take to heart!

      Good thing it’s not fatal, or I’d have died many deaths in my life, that’s for sure.

      I wish you God’s blessings this week to my friend,

  10. Ceil, I LOVE this post and photos! Reminded me of sweet memories with my children and grandchildren….also, it is a great analogy for adults as we try something new…when I read your graphic, the words, “put one foot in front of the other” brought to mind this wonderful song by Sara Groves, “It Might Be Hope”…those lyrics are included in this song…here’s a link to it…
    Many blessings to you!

    • Hi Beth! How thoughtful of you to include the link to the song, thank you! It was nice to meet you today πŸ™‚

      Thank you for your kind words about the post. You’re a grandmother too? Isn’t it just the best??? Those children are such an inspiration for my writing, not to mention how I love them to pieces!

      Thank you for visiting, and blessings right back to you,

  11. When I was newly married, a woman I rode to work with told about her daughter learning to drive. The mother applied the same logic to the process. Try, Fail, Fall, Get Up and Start Over.

    We need to remember that when someone close to us sins. A dear saintly lady told me that when someone close to me had ‘fallen away.’

    • Hi Cecelia! It is a good think to remember in regards to others, you’re right. We all fall and have to learn through it. Patience with myself should teach me patience with others too.

      Your friend sounds like a wonderful person. How beautiful of her to share her wisdom with you…and you’ve remembered it for a long time.

      Evening blessings,

  12. So many truths in this post, Ceil. I have seen God pick me up and give me a little nudge to keep going on more than one occasion. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Pam! Well, that makes two of us then. How blessed we are to have such a wonderful Father who helps us get upright when we fall! If we can be patient and loving with ourselves and our children, how much more is he?

      I hope you had a great day! The weather here was just spectacular, warm and sunny. Yay!

  13. Hi, my friend!
    Love this! The metaphor about how our children learn and keep going is wonderful. I think many times our children have not developed the “can’t” muscle the we adults have mastered it. Great encouragement here!

    The poster at the end was right on time for our daughter this week and I passed that along to her.

    Blessings on your day!

    • Hi Pam! I like that reference to the ‘can’t’ muscle. I don’t want to overdevelop that for sure!

      I am so pleased that the poster could be of some encouragement for your daughter. You all remain in my prayers my friend. I know God is leading her on.

      Blessings always,

  14. Ceil,

    A good perspective check!

    Keep going, keep doing…if we know what to do, just do it.

    Sometimes it’s the simplest messages that are the most surprising.

    (Had to laugh at the Shakespearean part. Hahah…some of us are high drama!)

    • Hi Sandi! I’m glad you laughed! My daughter was high drama for her first 10 years or so. Then she calmed down and was an absolute joy. Funny how that works, huh? But in spite of her reactions, she still got up and tried again. Seems like nothing stops the kids.

      I agree about the simplest messages. I believe that too. Often I think my solutions must be complicated to make sense. Oh brother, why do I think that way?

      Have a peaceful night my friend πŸ™‚

    • Hi Karen! I know I do. I fall all the time, and it gets tiring hauling myself up all the time. But to overcome is sewn in me, and I need to throw away my emotional self and get going!

      Thanks for visiting here today my friend,

    • Hi Clare! Thank you for visiting, and I appreciate your kind words about the post. Getting up after falling never seems very easy, but it’s always the right thing to do. Little children seem to do that by instinct.

      Have a wonderful Tuesday πŸ™‚

  15. It is easy to be discouraged by failure and let it put us off instead of trying again. I think often success doesn’t come so much from our ability as the perseverance and the willingness to get up and try again. Thanks for the encouragement to keep going!

    • Hi Carly! Your comment reminds me of the saying “90% perspiration, 10% inspiration”. Just have to keep in there and get up, time after time. I need that encouragement myself. I often wonder if I’m on the right track if I try and fail. Failure doesn’t mean that all the time.

      There’s a lot for me to learn in falling and rising.

    • Hi Bill! Oh please, I have a hard time believing you have much trouble getting up when you fall. What a wonderful job you’ve done at your church! Maybe it’s not the easiest thing, but you certainly write about many times you’ve felt humbled, and have tried again.

      I think I’m the one this post is aimed at…as I told Carly, I often think falling = give up! But it’s SO not true. So, after the pratfall, on to the next great thing πŸ™‚

      Tuesday blessings my friend,

  16. Oh how I hate technology. My comment just disappeared when my internet had a little issue :). Anyway, I wanted to thank your for this encouragement today, Ceil. I really needed it. I’ve been labeling myself lately with things I need to be set free from: past failures, quitting… Amen to this: “Sometimes, having more worldly experience can be a negative.” I so get that statement. I guess I just need to get back on that bike ;).

    • Hi Candace! Well, of course I can write about this because I am so guilty of questioning my failures. I really want to be like a child! They fall, and maybe it takes a while, but they do eventually get up and get going.

      We’ll work on getting back on the bike together. That way, we can cheer each other on πŸ™‚
      Have a peaceful night,

  17. Just coming up with something to eat for supper tonight seemed like too big an ordeal. ha. So this post is meant for me, Ceil. “If God is calling you from deep inside to do something for Him, don’t let failure stop you. Let that calling lead you to rise up and try again every time you trip and fall. That strength is in you.” Thanks for your encouraging words always!

    • Hi Lisa! (So now I am wondering what you chose to eat!)

      I’m glad these were encouraging words for you this evening. I know they are for me! Gotta keep getting up and trying again. God is preparing us for the next step, and we won’t make it unless we keep moving.

      Have a peaceful night,

  18. What darling children!! So sweet, you brought me back to the early days, the crawling, walking, bike riding triumphs! How true children are more able to ‘just do it’ and we limp along fearful we may not do it all right, or we back give me inspiration today as I feel I don’t have the endurance I once had facing change, but nevertheless I limp along waiting to get through some finish line! So any inspiration helps and yours is such a pleasurable inspiration!!

    • Hi Kathy! Thank you so much for your supportive comment. I think it’s so great when we can encourage each other! You always write so well too, I’m glad we have become connected through our blogs.

      I know I don’t have the endurance of these children, but I want to! God can do anything in me, as long as I stay open to it. Just keep giving me that grace, and I’ll keep getting up, okay God?

      Have a restful night,

  19. Such powerful words, Ceil! Love the post πŸ™‚ Love the toes in the baby’s picture…I think baby toes are something of the cutest things God created! The bike image had me thinking of Miss C. After my little guy learned to ride, my aching back was like, oh my goodness, I can’t do this anymore. I think I need to say a prayer to our Father to help me coach Miss C on her two wheeler some day. My aging body is going to need all the extra help πŸ˜‰

    BTW, got a chuckle out of the lamb cake story you left. Well, not funny, but you know. I think I look up the cooking directions on line each time I make it. I just google lamb cake and something always pops up with great directions.

    • Hi Patty! Oh, I wanted you to laugh! My poor brother, he always has trial and error recipes. It took a long time for him to get the pecan pie to set, and it turned out that my mom didn’t write the recipe correctly!

      I will keep you in my prayers for bike riding too. I’m sure her sisters can help her too. Isn’t it funny how different we are with each of our children?

      Have a wonderful Wednesday,

  20. Ceil,
    I haven’t been over to many blogs for some time now (there is so much going on in my life at this time.) I thought to myself this morning ‘I must get back to visiting those other blogs I used to visit’, and came over to yours first.
    Well, if this isn’t the Lord’s perfect timing! Everything you have written here fits in with the Lord’s guidance, and my trust in that guidance, in my life at this present time.
    He knows the way we take, and knew before my day today was formed that I would come over to your blog, and He had you write this post at this time so that I would read it today. He is omnipresent and in all our lives, and works all things together for our good. He is the strength that enables me to prove true His word to me, and I continue to say ‘I will love Thee O Lord my strength.’, which has always been my favourite scripture.
    God bless you Ceil.

    • Hi Brenda! How nice to see you! I hope your life is less busy now.

      I’m so glad the post was helpful. It is really something how God works in all of us, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your encouraging Scripture too. I think the Lord would love to hear that from all of us.

      Have a great day!

    • Hi Jeanette! You know, that’s a really good point. I think I’m harder on myself too. Getting up after falling is really a good indication of how much we love ourselves! Not beating myself up for falling, but getting up with grace. I like that!

      Thank you for your always insightful comments!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I like your desire, and I know God does too. What more can he ask for but your ‘all’?

      Thank you for visiting today πŸ™‚

  21. Oh, I loved this post. I remember those days of my sons learning how to walk. They did it in completely different fashion, but they were both equally determined to accomplish it. And bike riding was the same story. Children serves as such good examples for so many *faith* lessons. No wonder we are counseled to be childlike.

    I have had my share of *backside* bumps and bruises. But, with the Lord’s ever-present help, I will keep getting back up.


    • Hi Sharon! I so agree. Watching my grands, and remembering my own children as they played and learned is such a lesson for me! I think we can all learn from their resilient spirits.

      Join the ‘black and blue’ club then! We’ll fall, but like the Energizer Bunny, we keep on going πŸ™‚

      Have a peaceful night,

  22. Kids sure do seem to take the risk easier and try try again. I wish we kept some of that curiosity and gumption into adulthood. Great photo and love that last saying. Hope you are having a great week!

    • Hi Jean! I could use an infusion of gumption! Thanks for your kind words about the post. I love to learn from my kids and grands. So many lessons to teach…

      The week is going well. Getting a lot done at home, not so much on the writing front. Sigh. Balance, balance, balance.

      Have a peaceful night,

  23. Ceil, you are speaking to ME! Oh wait- I suppose there are other readers this may be written for. But ME! lol πŸ™‚

    I love how you always paint such a beautiful and moving reflection in your messages- and I love how you always challenge us all to think more, stretch our perspective wider and dig deeper to find the faith and the strength we may already have.

    Off to go think some more about this. When do we stop believing that ‘it’s a constant natural process to fall down and get back up’? Somewhere between toddlerhood and teens, I believe. It all becomes clear to me- it’s about pride, self sabotage, pressure, stubbornness, and perhaps a bit of laziness or exhaustion- either one!

    Nothing is ever easy- and if it is- it’s usually a true miracle! It’s always about gathering the strength to ride those waves and jump those hurdles- it’s not the falling we need help with, it’s the ability to manage the recovery and get back up. I know I struggle with that often.

    Thanks for the nudge, Ceil. <3

    • Hi Chris! I think you can add a lack of self-love to your list. We would probably help anyone if they fell, even strangers on the street. But us? Oh no. We’ll sit there and wonder what just happened.

      You are so right about the ‘easy’ myth. Some things comes easily, but most items of worth take time and perseverance.

      I always like being nudged by you too my friend,

  24. Or, if they’re like Caleb they just refuse to walk even though they totally can and they’re almost 18 months old. πŸ˜‰ Isn’t it awesome how things with children totally relate to our relationship with God???

    • Hi Susannah! Children are often one big mystery, aren’t they? You would think they’d want to dash around and be mobile, but here’s Caleb who would rather crawl or be carried. I’m sure there are some great spiritual reflections in that, as you said!

      Hope you are in the midst of a wonderful weekend πŸ™‚

  25. Love your writing, Ceil. And what a wonderful quote in your graphic. (I will push you, I will show you.) sometimes it’s scary to get up and keep trying, it’s scary to follow God to new places. Today in church a young woman shared how she felt like she couldn’t see 2 inches in front of her, and I thought, “Well, that’s when God takes you by the hand and leads you 1 centimeter instead.”

    • Hi Betsy! Thank you for your kind words about the post today. I really liked that graphic too, it really spoke the heart of what I was trying to say.

      My name means ‘blind’, and at first, I was very upset about it. “What do you mean I’m blind??” But like the young lady you talk about, I think we’re all blind in one way or another. We can’t see all the time, and as you said, that’s when Jesus comes in. We need him! I like your thoughts about her comment. Slow and steady is good, as long as it’s in the right direction!

      Sunday blessings,

  26. It’s hard being an adult isn’t it? We somehow lose the wonder and courage that we have naturally as a child. The belief that we can do anything and especially get back up when we fall is easily embraced as a child but not so much as an adult. This right here is the perfect reminder for me… “If God is calling you from deep inside to do something for Him, don’t let failure stop you. Let that calling lead you to rise up and try again every time you trip and fall. That strength is in you.” Thank you for these words. I need to hear them and embrace them in my own life.

    • Hi Mary! Thank you for visiting today! I think failure is always a difficult thing to recover from, and move forward. But that’s what we are called to do. We can make it with the Lord at our side, because he is always there!


  27. I’m late with the reply, but I just found a moment to read this. Thank you for sharing! Change is both scary and exciting, and knowing that the One who created us is the One who is calling us, makes taking the first step at least a little bit easier πŸ™‚

    • Hi Scott! You can be late to the party, that’s okay. I think that the fear comes in when it’s hard to discern if it’s a thing to keep working on, or is the failure an indication that you should stop?

      I think as adults we are more of the latter, and children are more of the former. As you said, if you know it comes from God, then it really is a slam dunk, and the choices become easier.

      Carl is in mourning for the Hawks…oh well.

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