Failure Is Not The End Of The World

I'm not sure where I learned it, but somewhere along the lines, I believed a lie, that anything less than perfection was failure. If I wasn't able to successfully finish something or make it look like what it was supposed to look like, then I just stopped trying or I would give up. The fear of failure kept me from doing my best, because I realized early on that my best was never going to be good enough.

Good enough for what? I don't know, but my best was never going to be good enough in my mind. So I learned to live a very mediocre life. I did just enough to get by. I was definitely afraid to put my best into something, because what if my best wasn't enough? I wanted to be good at something, but I was always afraid to put my all into it. Because I had such a deep sense of feeling like I was a failure at everything I tried, I just lived in the middle of the road. I wanted to do enough so that when I did make mistakes I could always say “yeah, I didn't quite give it my all.” But on the other hand, I didn't give it my all, because if I gave it everything I had and still made mistakes…well then, I was a failure because I wasn't good.

Something to consider as we look at the life of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is that we see three very imperfect humans. We see guys that messed up and made mistakes, and yet somewhere in the midst of it all, they were found to be obedient and trustworthy of God's promise.

It took me a long time to wrap my head around the fact that these guys made mistakes and yet somehow God blessed them. God put his hand upon them and He chose them. For years, something in that story just never made sense.  I'm “called to be perfect,” right?

Matt 5:48 says “be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.” So what was it about these guys? What was it that made them so special that they could make mistakes, they could mess up, and still God loved them and took care of them?

Then I learned the secret of my God's heart. His love for me has nothing to do with me, and yet it has everything to do with me. God created me with my strengths, and He created me with my weaknesses. He did not set in front of me an unattainable goal of perfection. Jesus never said, “Come, be perfect;” He said, “Come, follow me.” He didn't say, “Come, be perfect;” He said, “Go and sin no more.”

See, the message of the cross is always and will always be, “My grace is sufficient for you...” - 2 Corinthians 12:9

My failures, my inability to complete a task, my inability to paint a Mona Lisa, my inability to sing well, my lack of carpentry skills - God created me with those, and yet He still loves me and His favor is still upon me. So I don't strive for perfection. I strive to do everything as unto the Lord. I strive to be obedient to His heart and His nature.

He knows my abilities. He knows my weaknesses. He knows what I can and can't do, what I'm capable of and what I'm not capable of. He knows all of those things, and yet it's not my weakness that I want to put out to the rest of the world. I want the world to see my strengths. So they think, “Oh, he's good at that! Look at his talents.” But God loves to work through my weakness. He gets the glory because, at the end of the day, there are many things I know that I'm not capable of doing on my own, yet the Holy Spirit is able.  

I'm not smart enough to have all the answers, yet it's in that weakness that God shows up with wisdom. So when I say failure is not an option, it doesn't mean that I'm not allowed to fail. It doesn't mean that I'm not going to fail. It means that God is so good; He is incapable of failing; He will never fail me; and He will never fail you. And that's the beauty of walking with Him.

We don't need to be perfect. In fact, if I strive for perfection, I nullify the cross. So take some time and consider, what is it that you've been avoiding doing? What is something God's asking you to do, and you feel like you don't have the capacity?

Where God calls you, and where God sends you, He will also be with you whether you find yourself in a pit, or a prison as Joseph did. Just remember God has a palace waiting for you.

JOURNAL: What area of your life have you been striving to be perfect in an effort for God to love you? Ask God today to help you to not live perfectly but in obedience.

PRAYER: Father, I'm so grateful that You called me to Your heart. You didn't call me to an action or call me to a deed. God, You did not call me to a list of do’s and don’ts with an effort to have to live perfectly by them. You called me to Your heart. God, You said, “Come, just follow after me. Walk with me; talk with me. Let me encourage you. Father. I'm so grateful that Your love surpasses my abilities. I'm so grateful that Your love surpasses what I am capable of, and in the midst of my weakness, You are made strong. In the midst of my weakness, You prove who You are time and time again. I want to rest in the finished work that You have provided for me through the cross of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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Lauren Kennedy - March 6th, 2024 at 6:56am

Always a good reminder for me; so good!

Lisa Allen - March 6th, 2024 at 9:08am

That was powerful and I needed to read that encouraging word.