What a yucky feeling word. It’s not one I enjoy thinking about, dwelling on, or experiencing. Yet, we all experience this feeling of failure from time-to-time.
I was recently listening to a podcast as they talked about goals (for the New Year, family, work, health, etc.) and re-evaluating them on occasion. In short, it’s good to figure out what’s working, what doesn’t, adjust as needed, and keep moving forward toward your goal.
Among the many things they discussed during the episode, failure was one of them. One comment, in particular, jumped right through my earbuds and nailed me in my heart and mind. I needed to hear it.
“Labeling something as a ‘failure’ indicates your decision to stay in that space, rather than continuing to learn from it, take it, and move forward.”
-Kelsey Van Kirk, The Purposeful Home Podcast, episode #014.
I found this thought or idea very interesting to ponder. Do I “stay in that space” of failure or do I learn from it and move forward? What do I tend to label as a “failure” in my life? Do I experience shame and condemnation (self or external)? Do I take each experience for what it is, learn from it, and continue on … or camp in my own self-doubt, pity, and wallow in suffering? Am I a “failure?”
It got me thinking even more …
Is “failure” even a Biblical concept? Does it address this idea, or have we brought it into our culture as a “normal” way of thinking and feeling?
Interestingly, when I searched for “failure” at BibleGateway.com, I found very little. There were a few verses about “fail,” but they had to do more with the heart and flesh failing … as well as how the Lord will not “fail” us. I never found anything that resembled being a failure. If you find verses that say otherwise, please do let me know. I welcome correction and accountability!
The Bible has plenty to say about falling short of God’s glory, but this has more to do with sin, not simply making mistakes or “failing.” From my perspective, there’s a difference. Sin is what separates us from the Lord (and dare I say, from others). But, mistakes are not sin.
If I drop a bowl of cereal on the floor, that’s a mistake or an accident, not a sin.
If I lie to my friend, that’s not a mistake, that’s a sin.
Regardless of which one we identify with more, do either of them truly make us “failures?”
Taz (8) will often try to do a new trick on his skateboard or attempt a fancy Lego contraption, and when it doesn’t go according to plan, he’ll emphatically declare, “FAIL!” This idea of failure is in our every day language. We’ve watched those video clips and seen those memes that have the big bold letters FAIL across the screen. It’s everywhere! We need to change the way we talk and think and ultimately, what we believe.
It seems like I have lived far too long, beating myself up and feeling like a failure about various things (especially as a homeschooling momma). This is not how God intended it! I may fall short, sin, and make mistakes, but, God’s grace and forgiveness covers me. I am not a failure. I must change my thinking and declare TRUTH. I am redeemed, restored, and forgiven! To walk in the mindset of being a failure is the opposite of what Jesus came to do. He came to give us hope, salvation, life and life abundantly. We have VICTORY in Him!
I’m a word person, so out of curiosity, I looked up some synonyms and antonyms for “failure.”
Can you guess which list is which? Which is similar to and which is the opposite of “failure?” Which list do you identify with most?
If you identity with feeling like a failure, please don’t let this post make you feel like a failure for feeling like a failure. It’s too easy to follow that rabbit hole and spiral down even further into the pit of despair. It’s time to come out into the light!
I am not a “prosperity” message type of a gal, but I do hope to be one who speaks truth and life. Friends, if you are struggling with feeling like (or believing) you are a failure, or if you are LIVING in that camp or mindset, please remember what is TRUE. The truth – you are NOT a failure … you are forgiven, loved, redeemed, and valuable! God is not a failure, and He did not fail in creating you. We may stumble and fall, from time-to-time, but the Lord is right there to hold, help and carry us. We can learn from our experiences and move forward. Let’s not camp in our imperfections, but let’s take residence in His perfection.
Our weaknesses vs. His strengths.
Our sin vs. His forgiveness.
Our “failures” vs. His successes.
Our plan vs. His plan.
Our lack vs. His abundance.
Our falling short vs. His victory.
Where do you choose to invest your thoughts, energy, and identity? In yourself or in Him? Your thoughts about you or His thoughts about you?
You have the freedom to choose.
To God be the Glory!