Friday, February 3, 2012

Disappointment = character builder

I tested for my first-degree black belt in Taekwondo tonight and I didn't pass. I didn't break one of my boards.

I stepped up to the board and I pulled off a clean break with the right foot. It was the left foot's turn and the last thing between me and the belt. And it just didn't happen. I can't tell you exactly what went wrong (maybe I didn't pivot enough?)

Oh, the disappointment stung -- still does. I confess that I didn't want to write this post. I feel embarrassed when it comes to admitting failure. It was especially tough because three friends came out to cheer me on.

But I realized something tonight: although the failure hurt, it was not devastating. Then I realized something else: that's huge growth for me, character-wise. Disappointments don't bowl me over like they used to and for that, I am so thankful.

In the three years I've been studying Taekwondo, this is the second test I've failed. (I've passed 15 so far. Not bad.) I failed the first test in December 2010 when I was trying to move from blue belt to brown belt, the first level of advanced. I boo-hoo'ed inconsolably.

Maybe that first test fail took the edge off this second one. I dunno. But I do know that I overcame that first fail. When I finally got that brown belt, it felt so good. Likewise, I know it'll be doubly sweet when I finally get the first-degree black belt. I try again in a few months.

One of my sisters often says to me, "every disappointment is a blessing." I didn't always like hearing that but now I don't mind because it's so true.

I had a few friends and another sister praying for me tonight (I get so nervous when it comes to tests!) Their prayers weren't in vain. I felt the strength of them. I wasn't as nervous as I could have been and I thoroughly enjoyed the test, from demonstrating my pattern to the sparring (especially the sparring!) to the board breaks. I loved being with my Taekwondo family and cheering on fellow students.
It meant so much to me that I had the support of my three friends on this big night.

Yes, the first-degree black belt eluded me tonight. But it won't be for long.

Oh, are you wondering why there's a picture of a tasty loaf of bread in this post? My dear friend Sarah brought it to testing tonight as a surprise. It's made from scratch. (She even milled her own wheat.)

Call it my consolation prize. My night is already looking up :)


  1. haha, food! Yes, the perfect Lola gift. I admire you for writing this post. Failure is never a good feeling and admitting it to others is not easy. I'm proud of you, more proud than if you walked away tonight with your first degree black belt. In my current Bible Study I'm learning that God cares more about our character than what we do. God is smiling on you tonight.

  2. This may be my favorite post of yours to date. You'll get there. I have no doubt.