Many times we get tired of feeling like we are failing. We feel like we’re failing in our jobs, in our marriages, in our families, in our day-to-day lives, but the truth is that God didn’t promise us a lifetime of success.
Still, the ache of failure is painful. You feel like you’ve done everything wrong or like everything you are doing is not making anything better. You start to believe that you’re not good enough— a good enough mom or wife or friend.
Why can’t I run my household with grace?
Why do I feel like my work is sloppy?
Why can’t I just “win” one time?
Maybe you know those questions. Maybe they echo in your head sometimes or what feels like all the time, but those things aren’t true. Instead in what feels like failure, God tells us that He can. He tells us that He is able. He tells us to trust Him.
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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
What does failure mean in God’s eyes and what can we do to trust Him when we feel like we’ve fallen short?
Not a cliché
So many times we’re told that failure is a “learning experience” and it’s something to get over, but failure isn’t a cliché. Failure isn’t about becoming a stronger person. It’s about trusting a stronger God.
The honest truth is we can’t do it all. We can’t do it on our own. Some nights, pizza will be ordered for dinner. The house will be a wreck. Work will suffer. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we get perfection. What we get is a chance to know God better, and through failure, we learn that we can only do it through God’s power and mercy.
Let’s stop treating failure like it’s something to “get over,” like something we can conquer, and instead see it as a way to know God better. God is in the smallest details.
How do we survive a wild workday and then manage to put three kids to bed?
How do we finish a tough project that seemed impossible?
How do we make it to the end of the day?
If you feel like you’re failing, embrace it. Don’t let go of it. Don’t try to will it away on your own. Instead, let’s seek God in failure and rely on his strength to pull us through each day. God wants us to rely on him. We are weak and broken and we fail, and that’s why we need God.
When those around us wonder how we do it, it’s not because we learned from our mistakes or became stronger in failure, it’s because we serve a powerful God who saves us every single day.
Get back up
Secondly, failure means “get back up.” It means keep going even when it hurts. There’s grace in getting back up. Being a wife or mom or friend or daughter or worker is hard. It’s a monumental task to do what most of us do each day. Know that in whatever it is that you do— whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or corporate executive or marketing intern— that your work is hard. Acknowledge that because God does.
God has called us to push through hard things, but not on our own. It is by his power that we are able to do so. We will fail. We will fall, but we do not give up.
Following God is about getting back up over and over. It’s about seeking God so desperately that we can’t stay down. If you feel like you’ve fallen over in failure, don’t stay there. By God’s mercy and grace, find the strength to get back up.
Failure means we need to learn from God. We are not Saviors. We need to be humble. We need to stay teachable. We need to seek God constantly.
In God’s word, we will find that his teachings are a way to find comfort in what feels like our failure. Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” We can’t forget that we need God’s word to light our ways, especially in the darkness of failure.
By reading and spending time in God’s word, we will find an understanding of God’s majesty and love. He cares about us deeply, and he wants to help us and to shield us. When we face times of failure, we can trust in that.
Instead of getting bogged down by our self-doubt and feelings of failure, we can clear away the fog and dust, and see that God is bigger than pizza dinners. A biblical foundation will give us the knowledge to see that we aren’t failing our families and friends.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, “Bread is a second cause; the LORD Himself is the first source of our sustenance. He can work without the second cause as well as with it; and we must not tie Him down to one mode of operation. Let us not be too eager after the visible, but let us look to the invisible God.”
Even more than food, that’s how much we need God’s word.
To conclude, let’s pray that we see failure as a way to come closer to God and that we don’t allow failure to define us. Let us find strength in God’s power and stop relying on our own power.
We serve a God who didn’t promise success all the time, but who promised us that he would always be there for us. In our feelings of failure, God is stronger. Let’s trust in that.