Do you ever feel like. . . .a failure?
I have ideas for what I want life to be like. I know how my hair should look, how clean my bathrooms should be, and how my children should behave. I have a picture in my head of how I think everything in life should be. It’s lovely.
Unfortunately, my reality often falls short of my picture. I have bad hair days, globs of toothpaste cover the bathroom sink, and my kids act like. . .well. . .like kids. Life happens, and it doesn’t always happen in a good way, or at least not my view of good.
As I sit writing right now, I could list at least twenty things that just aren’t right around here. The pile of mail stacked on the kitchen counter, the wrinkled up clothes shoved onto the closet shelves, the layer of dust covering the furniture, the bulging files needing sorted, the bills waiting to be paid, the kids’ rooms. . .the laundry pile…the kitchen floor. . .I could go on and on.
They all scream one word: Failure.
And don’t even get me started on my parenting skills. I think everyone who has been a mother for more than a few days has experienced the reality that they’re in over their heads and have already dropped the ball. Multiply that by weeks and years.
Whether it’s the fact that we can’t get the baby to sleep through the night or that our teenager isn’t respectful, there is always some kind of issue to remind us that we aren’t good enough. And as we go to bed at night, we have this overwhelming sense that we just can’t do it. We’ve failed our children, our husband, and God. There’s one word that rings loud and clear in our heads: Failure.
Unfortunately, my feelings of failure are more than just feelings. I really do yell at my kids, neglect my husband, and squander my time. I surf the web instead of clean the house. I say things I should keep to myself. I reap the fruit of impatience instead if the fruit of the Spirit. I can’t deny it: I’m a failure.
But before you start offering me words of encouragement and trying to boost my self-esteem, I have some more bad news to tell you: You’re a failure, too.
The fact is, we are all failures.
Instead of stroking our ego, the Bible confirms these thoughts when it says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We have failed. “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12).
Sinned. . .worthless. . .no good. . .FAILURE.
Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t stop there. While I easily let my many shortcomings scream the word “failure,” God proclaims a different word when He observes my pitiful life: GRACE.
I am shocked at the number of ways I’m capable of screwing up. My failures surround me on every side, but God isn’t surprised by the reality of who I am. Before my birth, He wrote my days, even the ugly ones (Psalm 139:16). He could have erased my many mistakes, my selfish decisions, my lack of skills. I sure would have, but He didn’t. He knew I would be a colossal failure, and He still created me.
Not only that, but before the foundation of the world, he made a plan to cover my every sin and failure. He wrote his Son’s perfection over my imperfection. He used my failures, the very ones I wish I could erase, to bring about his redemptive plan. He reveals the contrast between his righteousness and my unrighteousness, and then He pours out the righteous blood of Jesus to cover over my every sin. My failures, covered by His grace.
Yes, we all have fallen short of God’s righteousness, but we “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:24). We cannot ignore the countless ways we fail God, those we love, and even ourselves, but we also must remember the rest of the story. We must remember the truth of the gospel. And the gospel story is about both failure and grace.
My failures haunt me. They condemn and discourage me. But they are a gift that leads me to the foot of the cross. They should serve as a constant reminder of the steadfast love of God. A God who knew me, yet still created me. A God who could punish me, yet chose to rescue me. A God who took my ugly reality, yet redeemed me with His beautiful Truth.
For the next few days I’ll be talking about painful reality and the beautiful truth that’s revealed through our failures. I hope you’ll join me!
You might be encouraged by more posts from this series:
- Failure: The Problem of Pride
- 15 Verses for When You Feel Like a Failure
- 7 Steps for Troubleshooting Feelings of Failure