I never thought I’d be dealing with failure so much and so often this year.
Earlier this year, I wrote my very first post about new years resolutions and best intentions. I carved out a page in cyberspace and two pages in my journal explaining the breadth and depth of the goals that I had for the year. This was going to be a different year! A healthier year! A more productive year! A successful year! And I stayed up still midnight to bring in this year with the best intentions. Sound familiar?
And then in February, I revisited my resolution and best intentions list, and I was utterly dejected. I’m so glad that I travelled to Charlotte to visit my friend that weekend so she was there for me when I completely flipped out.
So I wrote a second post: Blessed Interruptions about how God’s divine intervention had scrambled some of my resolutions. I wrote this post as a reminder to myself that I needed to be flexible, release my plans to allow for God’s plans. From now on, I would be rolling with the punches, and trusting God’s plan overall.
Dealing with Failure
Now, it’s mid-May.
It’s mid-May and I’m very cognizant of the fact that the year of 2020 is passing by oh-so quickly. With the coronavirus pandemic and being closed indoors all the times, the days are blending together like never before—as are work and life balance (but that’s a whole other story….)
It’s mid-May and I am feeling like a failure. Honestly, I do.
I feel like all of my grand plans and lofty goals have crumbled and reduced to nothing except smithereens and a couple of pennies.
The Voice of Failure
There’s a voice in the back of my mind saying that I never do enough. That I never work hard enough. That I’ll never get there. That I’ll never reach that goal–or any goal. That nothing will ever change. That this is the way that it is.
This is the voice of failure, but I don’t know where it’s coming from. And though I don’t know from where it came, I’d like to banish it back to that place.
Looking for Scriptures on Failure
When I open up God’s word and read through scripture, there are no expectations, guidelines, or achievements scribbled next to God’s promises.
Unlike work and jobs, I’m not measured against a set of goals or judged by the number of accomplishments or satisfied clients.
No, in Scripture it says that God’s love is out of our control. It is out of our control because He just loves us—period.
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT)
Repeat that with me. God loves us, and He takes pleasure in loving us.
Trying to Deal with Failure and Disappointment
So why do I feel like a failure when God loves? When he has poured his love out to me, literally by the blood of Jesus? How can I deny his love and say that it is not enough?
I find myself fighting to find the truth when my hands won’t let go of these feelings of failure. I keep stacking myself up against these benchmarks of success and achievement, and I always fall short. I’m holding tight to these standards that I haven’t met, and even as God is calling out to me,
“Kara, you are a loved child of God. You’ve been bought back, at the highest price…” (Galatians 4:4-5)
why can’t I let go of this and cling to his truth? Is the failure I’m dealing with even real? How do I grapple with the disappointment weighing on my heart?
God and Failure – His Character
I think my inability to accept God’s love and cling to his truth lies in how I think about God and His love. When I think about His love, I think about a dial, something I can increase or decrease.
Surely, by doing XYZ and following God’s plan perfectly, I can earn more of God’s love. And when I sin, surely the scale of God’s love diminishes. Right?
But what does the Bible say about Failure and God’s Love?
Again, I turn to the Scriptures, wrestling with this twisted view of love, questioning where these thoughts originated from. I’m bewildered to find that these thoughts are true of human love of impure, corrupted love. But God’s love is pure says 1 John 4:18.
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (NLT)
Which means God loves me already to the maximum. I could never do anything to earn more of God’s love, for I never earned it in the first place. And I could never do anything to make God love me less—He chose me while I was still a sinner.
He just loves.
“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:9)
How to Deal with Failure – Know that God Still Loves
So I went back to the voice in the back of my mind saying that I am not enough. I told it that it’s okay that I’m not enough by the world’s standards. In the eyes of God, I’m worth the highest price. I have been bought back at the highest price. God loves me.
And all He wants is for me to love Him, to be in relationship with Him, to desire Him.
I’m setting down my own expectations. I’m removing the world’s standards from my shoulders. I’m not letting myself think that I could do anything to deserve God’s love.
Instead, I’m just choosing to be overcome with thankfulness and awe when I think about the fact that God chose to love me despite my rebellious heart and my sinful past. That’s all be washed away.
He just loves.
Working to Overcome Failure
Have you been grappling with failure lately, too? What of the world’s standards do you need to let go of in order to claim God’s love?
Tell yourself: even when I feel like a failure, God still Loves.
Be encouraged! If you’re dealing with failure, some other posts that may encourage you are:
- Faith: an Anchor in my Heart – stand firm on your faith
- Seeking Comfort in God – find rest in Him
- Making a Gratitude List – remind yourself to be thankful
Music is always a helpful reminder and encouragement as well. If you’re dealing with failure right now, I recommend this song by Grace Snellville.
What did you think of this post? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.
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