I guess experience makes me qualified to write about failure.
From where I sit, when I look at the grand scheme of all my plans, by all outward appearance at this moment in my life, I am one. I’ve worked for many years to learn all the S.M.A.R.T. things and do all the big tasks. I’ve figured out all the bullet points and all the check boxes. I’ve invented all the systems and implemented all the rewards. I’ve tapped into all the neural retraining and the capturing and replacing of thoughts and gone on and on about types of motivation… and, yet, I find myself ever more frequently huddled up in a little ball at His feet, trembling from yet another failure, yet another weakness. When it comes to what my perfectionistic heart envisions, I may never see “success”. I may never catch the right wave, or accomplish what I thought could be His dream for my little life. I can only lie here trembling.
Who am I, Lord? Who am I to teach anyone something I cannot even do? Who am I to act knowledgeable about something this far above my pay grade?
I’ve always had an explanation for my failure – a justification, a reason, a lack of motivation, a lack of tools, a missing step – “If only I would have done _____, had ______, been ______ it would have been different.” But no, I can’t even live a life not reliant on my own strength on my own strength. I am capable of every failure, every sin, the blackest fault! Oh yes, I may not always be qualified to write about “how to succeed”, but maybe I could learn how to harness failure.
Maybe, Lord, you could take my little failures. Are you willing to accept my imperfections? It seems it is all I have to offer…
In case you, dear reader, are out there tonight wondering if you will ever be enough. No, my darling, no, you won’t. You are broken and you will keep breaking. But, the good news is that it’s ok! All your failure has a purpose – to keep you at His feet – to recognize your desperation for God and to feel the utter and abject misery and insignificance of our creation.
*Gasp* *Shock* *Horror*
Hang in there with me for a second. I know I just said the opposite of everything you’ve ever heard, and ever believed – Everything you’ve ever tried to pep talk yourself with. Everything all the gurus tell you is true.
You must just believe in yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to. You are enough. You are worthy. Just pick yourself back up.
If you are reading this, you are likely not feeling very peppy. And I don’t know about you, but all the cheerleader talk in the world just sounds insulting when every fiber of my being knows in its deepest depths and cries out from its very entrails,
The world, and even its voice in the back of your mind, would have you believe that you are wrong, that you are depressed, that you just need a long bath and a pint of ice cream (or a run – if you’re really healthy) to feel better, to pick yourself up again. To keep going, to keep trying, to not let it beat you.
If you “just can’t” do it, maybe you need meds? Because you should be able to do this, right?
Read also: The role of Depression in the Christian Life and True Self Care vs Death to Self
I am here to tell you that you are wrong. They are wrong. Everything you’ve heard your whole life about worth and capability are all wrong.
And that could possibly be the best news ever.
Because God permits failure for a reason!
6 Spiritual Reasons God permits us to Fail
- It is where we will experience the depth of our belovedness (when we didn’t do anything to earn love)
- It gives us freedom to be imperfect – We can stop striving to be more than we are.
- It forces us to prioritize – Yes, I must get back up, but when I do, what am I going to do differently? And, why?
- Forces us to revisit our motives – Why are we pursuing this goal again?
- Forces us to admit our need for God (which is the beginning of being able to truly love Him) – I do not have to be CAPABLE! (Beloved Affirmations)
- Forces us to recognize that it’s not about God needing me, my services or my presence, it’s about me desiring Him!
Thus, spiritually, allowing us to fail becomes one of God’s greatest tools in His pursuit of us.
Letting us experience the depth of our need for Him, is meant to help us embrace not having to do it all alone. It’s when we finally surrender to our need for God that He can FINALLY reveal Himself to us without us feeling “entitled”, like somehow He owes us.
God owes us nothing. We are entitled to NOTHING. The very fact that we exist is already a gift. We don’t “deserve” anything! That’s what makes having it humbling. That’s what makes gratitude life changing. That’s where the response to love begins.
When God Allows You to Fail at your Goals – Practically Speaking
Goals are lofty, noble, and ultimately good, but, they can have a tendency to make us think we know what is best for ourselves and that we need to be in control of our own lives.
I don’t know about you, but I think trying to take on the role of God for myself, seems a bit too much to handle. This is when Goals Start to steal my Peace.
This is why it is so important to surrender the results of our best efforts.
Because maybe, just maybe, if He loves you, failure was better for you at that moment than success would have been.
We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28
Failure teaches me that service is more important than results.
We fail in order to learn trust and surrender. To learn sometimes that we have allowed our goals to become idols, and prioritized the result over the reason why we were pursuing it. We fail because our reasons were not God’s reasons.
Also, simply put, failure makes us stronger. We learn more ways how NOT to do something, so that we can be more successful in the future. And we learn to pick ourselves back up and try again – only this time we are not alone.
My grace is sufficient for you and my power is made perfect in weakness – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:3-4
help me to embrace failure as an opportunity to grow.
Adjust my priorities to match your priorities.
Shift my focus from my outcomes to my actions.
Grant that I may act swiftly and wisely, and bless my efforts as you see fit.
I trust in You.
- Christian Goal Setting (The Rest of my Post series)
- 18 Bible Verses about the Fear of Failure