This week, I was challenged to “write about a failure you’ve experienced lately,” and honestly, I’ve had a really hard time coming up with what to write. Not because I’m great at everything or because I excel at everything I try (I don’t!), but because “failure” simply isn’t really a part of my vocabulary. I’m not a failure. And you’re not either.
Sure there are times when I feel like a failure. I’m a perfectionist and a chronic “way-too-high-of-a-goal” setter, and that alone is a recipe for a disaster. In fact, looking over the New Year’s Resolutions I made this year, I realized I haven’t managed to keep a single one–either the ones I listed publicly in the blog post or the ones I wrote down on paper for myself. Oops.
But, you know what–that doesn’t mean I failed, and it definitely doesn’t mean I’m a failure.
The way I see it, there’s a big difference between experiencing a success, not experiencing a success, experiencing a failure and being a failure. And I think this is a distinction that too many of us forget sometimes. Just because something (or many things!) didn’t work out, does not mean that you have failed, and it does not mean that you are a failure.
So the next time something doesn’t go the way you planned and you’re tempted to feel sorry about yourself, here are three truths you need to tell yourself instead. These are the truths I tell myself when I feel like a failure, and let me tell you–it usually works!
1. Just Because I Haven’t Succeeded Yet Doesn’t Mean I Never Will
Remember those New Year’s Resolutions I made this year? The ones I haven’t kept AT ALL? They’re all still goals of mine. And eventually, I will accomplish them.
Just because I haven’t accomplished them yet, doesn’t mean I never will. It just means that I’m pregnant, I’m exhausted, and they’ve had to take a back burner for now. (It also means that I need to evaluate my plans for accomplishing them to make sure I actually follow through!) But it does NOT mean that I have failed.
2. I May Not Be Skilled in One Area–But I’m Very Skilled in Others!
If I were to make a list of things I’m not very good at–the list would be LONG. I’m pretty terrible with small talk, I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening, I hate sewing, I’m not crafty… the list goes on and on.
But you know what? All of that is okay! God didn’t create all of us to be skilled in every single thing. That’d be silly and redundant! Instead, He created each of us to be skilled in a wide variety of unique and interesting things so we’d have to work together to get things done.
The fact that I’m not skilled in those areas doesn’t mean I’m a failure. It just means that I’ve never bothered to take the time and energy to really learn them because those areas aren’t where my talents lie. I’d rather spend my energy developing my God-given talents, not the talents I think I *should* have. Wouldn’t you?
3. My Successes and Failures Do Not Define Who I Am
The way I see it, there’s a pretty big difference between who we are and what we do. Who we are is children of God. What we do–well, that depends on the day.
But seriously, just take a look at this verses that talk about how God sees us:
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith” –Galatians 6:26
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” –John 15:15
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” –2 Corinthians 5:17
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” –1 Corinthians 6:19
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:10
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” –Philippians 3:20
These verses (along with the rest of the Bible) make it pretty clear–we are not failures. We are children of God, friends of God, new creatures, temples of the Holy Spirit, God’s handiwork and citizens of Heaven. We are God’s beautiful and unique design, and He finds us worthy of love, no matter what we have or have not done or what we can or cannot accomplish.
So let’s stop focusing on the things that don’t even matter and focus on the things that do. We are God’s and He loves us.
Do you ever feel like a failure? What truths do you need to remind yourself of today?