How to Try Again After a Failure

Do you wonder how to try again after a failure? Everybody knows the sting of failure. It is disappointing; it hurts, and it damages our motivation to move forward.

How can we find the courage to try again after we failed? And are there biblical steps we can make to prepare for a new try?

We can learn a lot of powerful lessons from the story about the two attempts to conquer the city of Ai in the book of Joshua chapters 7 and 8.

The first attempt was an enormous failure for the Jews and threw them in fear and discouragement. The second attempt was successful.

What was the reason for the failed attempt and what did the people of Israel do to prepare their hearts to try again?

The Failure of Conquering Ai

In Joshua chapter 7, we find the people of Israel ready to take over the city of Ai. However, the Israeli soldiers “were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them. At this, the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.” (Joshua 7:4)

Joshua and the elders mourned and Joshua asked the Lord why the enemy defeated Israel. This was contrary to all expectations. The people of Israel had started a military crusade to conquer the Promised Land, and they trusted the Lord’s guidance and protection. Without that protection, they were extremely vulnerable in military terms.

The Lord revealed to Joshua the reason for the failed attempt.

“Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.” (Joshua 7:11)

So, what could they do to find the courage to try again after that colossal failure?

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How to Try Again After a Failure – 6 Steps

Here are 6 steps to try again after a failure based on the biblical account in Joshua chapters 7 and 8.

#1 Seeking the Lord

The first and most important step is to seek the Lord and inquire about the reasons for the failure.

In this particular case, the reason was the sin of one person, named Achan, who took some of the devoted things and brought the Lord’s anger against Israel. (Joshua 7:1)

There could be various reasons for experiencing failure, also some that are not at all in our control. However, when we seek the Lord and ask for wisdom, we are heading in the right direction.

When we seek the Lord and ask for wisdom, we are heading in the right direction. #Biblestudy #tryagain #encouragement Click To Tweet

#2 Obeying His instructions

The second step to preparing to try again after we failed is to get ready to obey God’s instructions.

The posture of an obedient heart is crucial if we want to move forward. God asked the people of Israel to consecrate themselves to prepare for cleansing and making things right.

Consecrating ourselves, our time, resources, gifts, and everything we used in the area of failure is an important step, signaling our humility and submission to God’s will.

#3 Repenting

If the reason for our failure is sin or disobedience, repenting and removing the sin and the consequences of the sin is the next crucial step.

 In this biblical story, Achan’s sin was exposed, and he confessed. According to the Law and God’s instruction, “all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them.” (Joshua 7:25) Achan and all his family and all his possessions were destroyed.

We can’t expect to receive God’s blessings and victory if don’t obey His words and sin deliberately. We need to remove sin and everything that hinders us if we want to be victorious.

#4 Choosing Strength and Courage Over Fear

The next step is to summon all our strength for another try.

We should renounce fear and discouragement and strengthen ourselves in the Lord and in our motivation to try again exactly there where we failed. We need to get ready to give our best. (Joshua 8:3)

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. (Joshua 8:1)

#5 Trying Again With a New Plan

The Lord gave Joshua and Israel a new plan and a new military strategy.

“You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them.” (Joshua 8:4-8)

This is also very important when we try again after failure. Perhaps the reason for the failure is not the most suitable action plan. Changing plans and strategies under God’s guidance can lead to success.

Changing plans and strategies under God's guidance in the area we failed can lead to success. #failure #success #Biblestudy Click To Tweet

#6 Implementing the New Plan

The last step is to implement the new plan and do what we know we should do.

When we move to action, we should rely on God’s strength and support. We can do this, trusting He will help us succeed in the same area where we failed.

“For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai. But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the Lord had instructed Joshua.” (Joshua 8:26-27)

A Helpful Resource to Renew Your Strength and Courage

Check out this devotional to help you find new courage and strength in different challenging life situations, containing devotions, focusing on 7 major areas of life, selected scripture, and scripture-based prayer after each devotion.


More Encouragement for You

If you need more resources and encouragement to help you regroup and try again, I can highly recommend these books. Check them out.

Draw Near: How Painful Experiences Become the Birthplace of Blessings by Hadassah Treu

Trusting God in All the Things: 90 Devotions for Finding Peace in Your Every Day by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk

Make Up Your Mind: Unlock Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life by Denise Dubois Pass and Michelle Nietert

Life Can Be Good Again by Lisa Appelo

It’s not supposed to Be This Way by Lisa Terkeurst

Hope When Life Unravels: Finding God When It Hurts by Adam Dooley

Restoration Year – a 365 Days Devotional by John Eldredge

All Things New by John Eldredge

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Your Turn

In which area did you fail and want to try again? Share in the comments and on social media if you found this article helpful. Thank you!

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How can we prepare our hearts to try again after failure? Find out 6 steps, based on the biblical account in Joshua chapters 7 and 8. #failure #Biblestudy #tryagain #encouragement Click To Tweet

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14 Replies to “How to Try Again After a Failure”

  1. Great post about how to try again after failing. That is really intelligent and informative. I have trouble handling failure and frequently want to give up and leave. Your advice makes it easier to understand why perseverance is so important. I appreciate the excellent post.

    1. Thanks so much, Harry! I am glad the post encouraged you and motivated you to try again after experiencing failure. Blessings to you!

    1. Thanks, Jen! Yes, with God’s help, we can deal with failure and try again with renewed strength. Blessings!

  2. Very thoughtful and insightful post on how to try again after a failure. I don’t handle failure well, and I often want to quit and walk away. Your tips are helpful to see the importance of not giving up. Thank you for the great post!

    1. Thanks so much, Debbie! Yes, handling failure is not easy and can weaken our motivation tremendously. I am glad you found the post helpful and encouraging!

  3. This is such an important message, Hadassah! I often want to crumble into a ball and hide after I feel like I’ve failed. Thank you for these practical ways to get back up and keep pressing forward in God’s strength!

    1. Thanks so much, Stacey! Failure is so painful and it is difficult to stand up and press in again. We really need God’s guidance and power to push through. Blessings, friend!

  4. Thank you for sharing these thoughts about trying again after failure. Humbling ourselves and seeking the Lord’s guidance is not always easy. It’s so necessary, though, especially when we might not like God’s answer. As always, I appreciate your insights.

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! I am happy you found this post helpful. Yes, it is not always easy to accept and follow God’s instructions but this is crucial in our life of faith. Blessings!

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