I’ve failed to be the perfect version of myself…does that person even exist? I’ve yet to fully exist in that form.
Can I just be raw with you tonight? I feel like a failure much of the time. Maybe you do too. I go through short seasons…there are whole periods of 2-3 days when I feel successful. Sometimes they’re periods as short as a few seconds. But for the most part, the feeling of utter failure is overwhelming, and it isn’t because I’ve failed at anything major…it’s because I didn’t wake up early enough to shower before work. It’s because I spilled coffee on my shirt. It’s because someone asked a question to which I didn’t have an answer. It’s because middle schoolers can be discouraging and some days I’m weak enough to let that get to me. It’s because my dog chewed a hole in the floor of the house I’m renting. It’s because I’ve failed to make someone feel loved or included. It’s because my work isn’t done and I’m so tired I see clouds before my eyes and crave coffee that I know I shouldn’t drink because it’s 10:21 pm and I’m processing my thoughts instead of grading my papers. Can anyone relate? Does any of that make me a failure? Does all of it make me a failure?
In a way, feeling this way can be good…if you’re strong enough to realize that your feelings of inadequacy aren’t an accurate representation of your character, and you use those feelings to spur you on to success…
But what about those times when we let those feelings overtake us?
Let me ask you this: what would you tell your child if he/she came to you feeling like a failure? What would you tell one of your students? What would you tell a struggling friend?
I’m going to step out on a limb and suggest that your response to them would be a lot more comfort and wisdom than the condemnation you probably feed yourself. Hey, I’m just speaking from experience.
I once read a quote that said, “Don’t believe everything you think.” Can I get an Amen? Sister, do not believe your own mind when you’re in the place of discouragement. Let the Lord fill you with the right thoughts.
Failing at something does not make you a failure, friend. It makes you a flawed human being that found one way not to do something…maybe a few ways not to do a number of things.
How can you and I take these feelings of inadequacy and flip them around to help us instead of hurting us?
First of all, we can take captive our thoughts. We can recognize that we feel the things we feel, and we can delve deeper to find out why we feel that way. Once we’ve done that, we need to separate the wheat from the chaff- hold on to the truth, but throw out the lies. What does the Word of God say about you? (Ephesians 1:3-10)
Next, we can use the fact that we’ve failed at something to spur us toward success. If we have failed, we have narrowed potential success down. We know at least one way that didn’t work, so we can strive more knowledgably to succeed next time. We can make a specific plan so that this particular failure doesn’t occur again.
We can learn to lean on the Savior, because only he can take a failure and redeem it. Only he can take a mess and turn it into a masterpiece. Everything can be turned around and used for his glory and our good…even our mistakes…even our sins. Romans 8:28 says that in all things God works for the good of those that love him…not in some things, not in the things we do well, but in all things.
Finally, when we’re struggling to pinpoint the lies and stop believing them, we can fill our minds with truth. No matter what section or book or verse, read the Word. Soak in the beauty of the truth. The longer you soak in the truth, the easier the lies will float to the surface so that you can spot them and throw them away. I hope you’re encouraged, friend. You may fail sometimes (and so do I), but you’re not a failure. Our God is the Unfailing Redeemer. Rest in that.