I AM A FAILURE! The accusation rose up from my heart and weighed heavy on me.
In just three short weeks, I had gone from feeling successful about the launch of my new website, with your kind comments and encouragement, to defeat. All because, I did not meet my own illusive goal to write one new post each week.
The voice of failure is not an unfamiliar one. In the past, I have listened to it taunt me when I believed I had failed or fallen short in my attempts to be a godly wife, or mother, or friend, or Christian...the list could go on and on.
Over time, I have learned, this sly and subtle enemy sneaks around and slithers in when I begin to measure my success based on what the world says I should do or be. It grows louder as I start to compare myself with the talents and success of others, instead of rejoicing in the person God made me to be. And, the voice nearly paralyzes me when I lose focus of the distinct ways God is able to work in and through me.
Thankfully, the Lord is teaching me to embrace and celebrate the unique person He created and called me to be. And, I am learning to recognize and silence the voice of failure. The voice that goads me at times with:
1. Well, You Know What the Experts Say...
A sense of failure begins to creep in when I try to do something the world's way. Instead of seeking God for wisdom and direction about how to do the task-at-hand, I run headlong after the opinions and advice of successful men and women. Last January, I was blessed with the opportunity to listen to experts share how to make my blog more professional, popular and profitable. Yet, the whole time, I heard God's still, small voice whispering, Listen and learn, but make sure you do it My way.
I can silence the voice of failure when I remember God's word in I Corinthians 1:24-25 To those who are called...Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
2. Look at Everything So-And-So Has Accomplished....
The feeling of failure grows as I watch and compare myself with the talents and accomplishments of others. Everyday, my inbox is filled with the blog posts of prolific writers who I admire, learn from and aspire to be like. If I am not careful, I start to beat myself up when I compare myself to their quantity and quality of work. At times, I am tempted to throw-in-the-towel, thinking I can never be like them. And, truth be told, I cannot. Nor, am I supposed to be. Because, like them, I am uniquely created by God for His plans and purposes.
The feeling of failure cannot thrive when I remember God's truth in Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
3. You're Such A Wimp...
If I allow the feeling of failure to linger, it begins to cripple me. I focus on my weaknesses and limitations. I forget to praise God for the ways He does work in and through me. While it's true I did not meet my writing goals for February; It is a fact that I was out of town for almost half the month caring for our families needs. When I was home, I spent hours each week preparing the curriculum for a Bible Study that I teach. And, another reality which I forget to factor into my measure of success is that I am not able to sit in just any chair for extended periods of time, because of chronic back pain. This problem, along with so many others, can make me feel inadequate and ill-equipped to continue pursuing my goals and God's call.
Until, I remember God's promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Sometimes, I feel like a failure. Do you ever feel that way? Perhaps, it is as a wife, a mother, a friend...? When you do, I hope you will remember that our measure of success is not to live up to the opinions and advice of the world's experts, but to seek out and listen to wisdom from God. I hope you will remember not to compare yourself with others, but to celebrate the unique person God created and called you to be. Finally, I pray the Lord will give you eyes to see the ways He is able to distinctly work in and through you according to His plans and purposes.
Have you ever found yourself listening to failure's accusing voice? How do you silence it and walk in the way God has uniquely created you? I would love to hear from you! Remember: HIs grace is always sufficient. And, when we are weak, then we are strong.