I hurry into my room and close the door behind me. I quietly push in the lock and slump to the floor. With my forehead pressed against my hands, I begin to cry. No, I begin to sob. Hot tears roll down my cheeks and drip onto my jeans. I weep until I think I can’t cry another tear, and then I jerk in another breath and begin again.
I hate this! Why can’t I do anything right? If I was a better mom, this stuff wouldn’t happen. If only I would have done a better job with them. Why was I even born? Why did God make such a screw-up? All I do is ruin everything! I’m nothing but a failure!
I wish I could tell you this story is fiction. I wish I could say I’m not like that girl. Oh, how I wish. . . .
But that’s me. And that scene has played out, in some form, more times than I can count. Sure, the supporting characters might be different each time – my children, my husband, our dinner, the forgotten bill – but it plays out pretty much the same.
And the dramatic star of the show is always me.
As you read about my raw emotions and self-loathing speech, you might think I absolutely hate myself. On the surface, that’s how it looks. My heart tells a different story.
You see, I have a problem, and it’s called “pride.” It’s a fact that I’m a failure because of sin. We have all failed to live a sinless life before a righteous God. But most often, I feel like a failure because of a particular sin that resides deep within my heart: My sinful pride.
My pride tells me I should be good enough. It insists that I deserve better. I shouldn’t make mistakes. Everyone is counting on me. If I’m not perfect, everything is going to fall apart. My children’s futures depend on me. My marriage depends on me. I’m supposed to do everything right!
Of course, none of those statements is true. I’m not good enough, and I do make mistakes. I deserve God’s wrath, and it’s utterly impossible for me to be perfect. My children’s futures and my marriage depend on the sovereign love and grace of God.
Life isn’t all about me!
I think I deserve a better life than the one I’ve been given. Maybe even a perfect life. When things don’t go the way I want, I think I’ve failed. When my children act up or dinner is a disaster, I turn my attacks inward because I think I’m better than that. And all those flowing tears are just my ugly self-pity pouring out.
As always, God has a much needed rebuke and word of encouragement for me. He says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
That’s God’s remedy for my feelings of failure. That’s His answer to my self-centered attacks. I am called to humble myself under His loving, almighty hand. Instead of lifting myself up to a place of perfection, I am told to give all my concerns and shortcomings to Him, so that He may exalt me in His own timing.
I don’t know His plan. My parenting failures may be the very thing God uses to draw my children to Himself. My messed up dinner could be the thing to remind my family that I’m not perfect, so they’ll believe me when I tell them I love them when they mess up, too. My failures as a wife are a reminder of God’s grace in holding my marriage together. This list could go on and on.
And each and every one of my failures (and there are many!) is an opportunity for God to breath these life-giving words into my heart: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
My failures aren’t really about me. They’re about God. They’re about grace.
How do you view your failures? Do you think pride plays a role in how you view your own life? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!