Failing with Grace


It seems opposites attract. Which includes my husband and me.

He wants to arrive early. I like to arrive just on time.

Can you see a problem?

He will announce, “Time to go,” or ask, “are you ready to go?” half an hour before we need to be walking out the door. Even before he is ready.

Me. I like to get dressed and ready right before it is time to leave the house. No need to stop what I am doing and get ready and then sit around for 15 minutes waiting to leave.

I think you can see we approach getting ready to leave the house a little differently. He may be ready 15 minutes early and waiting, while I am choosing out my clothes 15 minutes before it is time to leave, putting my shoes on as it is time to walk out the door.

And because of our differences and the way we approach getting ready, you can imagine that I don’t like to be hurried and rushed, and he hates waiting.

Is anyone relating to this? Laughing at one of us or both of us? Laughing at themselves or someone else?

You can imagine that this has caused us both frustration. Words of frustration. Looks of frustration. And even to be late sometimes.

It has also caused us to be more patient and love one another in all things. As well as move towards compromise.

Over time he has waited longer to get ready and I have made more of an effort to be ready on time.

Sometimes I am even ready early. Which causes the angles and hubby to sing.


It is so easy to fail, or feel like we failed.


Last Sunday I was rushing to get ready, while hubby was sitting in the car, waiting ten minutes. According to my clock I emerged from the house exactly on time. According to his clock, I was ten minutes late. According to the church clock, we were 12 minutes before the start of service.

Well unfortunately, words were said. A comment by him as I arrived to the car, and a retort by me. Frustrations aired. Then silence.

I think you can relate.

We get frustrated at our self. At others.

And then we make unhealthy choices for the relationship. We say things we don’t really mean. Think negative things of them and our self. Blame gets distributed like a bad penny, and pride becomes a stumbling block.

What to do when you feel like a failure. 


So, what can we do when we get frustrated at our self or at others? When we fail yet again? When we mess up in life? Sin?

Here are a few things we can do:

1. Keep the relationship front and center.  The relationship is more important than winning or proving you are right. Focus on stating your feelings and point of view without attacking the other person. The person is not the problem, their behavior is. (Wanting to be early does not make someone a bad person, so don’t attack them in a way that makes them think they are bad for wanting to be early.)

2. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. It is easier to listen to the other person’s complaints when we try to understand why our behavior irritates them. When we look at the problem from their point of view. Compassion and empathy create understanding and dissipate anger. (I know I don’t like to wait, so I can understand why you are frustrated.)

3. Start with a compliment, then address the problem. People are more willing to listen when you notice the good before moving to the bad. (I like how you want to look nice for church. And boy do you look nice. Next time can you work on being on time?)

4. Stop pride in its tracks ­– apologize. Swallow the rising defensiveness and just ask for their forgiveness. Saying we are sorry often stops a fight from developing.

5. Keep a sense of humor. Laughter dissipates frustration and anger.

Hubby will sometimes sing a “Hallelujah” or two from Handel’s Messiah when I get in the car after he has been waiting, which usually gets us laughing. It communicates his point in a playful manner and also drops the matter.

6. Learn from the experience and focus on the future. This is not the time to relive the past, shame and blame, accuse, punish, or silently berate yourself with negative self-talk. Stop and jump off the shame and blame merry-go-round. It does no one any good. You can’t change the past. So, focus on the future. What will you do next time? Ask went wrong this time? Make a plan. Identify something you can do next time. It helps when we replay the situation in your mind, this time choosing to do the right thing.

7. Remember life is a journey – two steps forward and one back. Give yourself grace. Give them grace. Change happens slowly for them and you(baby steps), and not without reverting backwards. This is why we must set reasonable goals. We can’t say I will never be late again and strive for that goal, because we will fail and be late again.

8. Celebrate your effort – not just your success. Because you will fail, and often, celebrate your effort. Did you start getting ready 10 minutes earlier than normal, but were still late? Well, then at least pat yourself on the back for making progress in the right direction and making an effort to change your habit of being late. Then try again. And again.

9. Remember your identity. So, you made a mistake. Sinned. Failed. Made a bad decision. None of these affect your worth. Make you a bad person. Cause you to be a failure. You are still loved and called Beloved by your heavenly father. You are even loved by those around you. Friends and family do not love you because you are perfect, no, they love you because of who you are, imperfections and all.

10. Don’t compare yourself to others. First, you don’t know the whole story. Second, everyone’s journey and struggles are different. (Comparing yourself to others is often jumping back on the shame and blame or beat yourself up merry-go-round. Or else the I-am-better merry-go-round of pride.)

11. Give yourself permission to be a work in progress, and then extend that permission to those around you. Treat them the way you want to be treated; treat yourself as you would treat a good friend. (Notice I said “good friend” because we can be so harsh with ourselves. Harsher than anyone else is to us.)

12. Let it Go. Don’t hang on to anger. Don’t bring it up again and again. Don’t dwell on it in a negative fashion. Give it to God and move on.


Coping with failure.  Remember what’s important. 


Always grace to self. Grace to others. God’s grace showering down and freely given round.

No accusing, blaming, shaming. No negative self-talk. No punishing. These don’t change us or others for the better.

What changes us, and others, is grace, love, and forgiveness. Freely given gifts from God which we pass on to others.

You are a work-in-progress and on a journey that will never reach perfection in this lifetime.

Let yourself be a work in progress. God does.

Let others be a work in progress. God does.

Extend grace. Repent. Forgive. Move forward.

Repeat for a lifetime.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.


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Join the Discussion: How are you letting yourself fail with grace? 

May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

13 Replies to “Failing with Grace”

  1. Love the point by point. Especially seeing things from the other person’s point of view. Puts everything in a whole new light.

    One question; Can anyone tell me why men like to wait for you in the car?
    Do they think it will hurry you up? Make you feel bad? Make them feel better? Get to where you are going faster since they don’t have to get in and start the car, just put it in drive as soon as your feet hit the floor?
    If you know the answer, I would love to know too.

    • Yes, trying to see things from the other person’s point of view does give a whole new perspective, which I often need. 🙂

      As for why men wait in cars, not sure. Maybe it makes them feel like they are doing something? Or maybe once they are ready they don’t want to wait inside? I’d like to know too.

  2. This is all such good advice, Theresa! I have a work colleague who is the opposite to me in just about every way and we have to work hard at a lot of these things to be able to work together well.

    • Thanks for sharing, Sherry. I think in the end it is good to be opposites because you eventually balance each other out over time. Although, silly me, it took me 2/3 of my marriage to figure out we were opposites.

  3. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday.
    It will always be useful to read content from other authors and practice a little something from other web sites.

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