Quit Thinking You Are the Only Failure: Because You Are Not

I walked confidently and relaxed into the hairdresser. It was time for a little relaxation.

Being about ten minutes early, I was told by the other hairdresser that Jason would return in a few minutes. Enough time for a cup of tea, I thought. And proceeded to get one.

Within minutes I was sipping my tea, beginning to relax from the hurry and stress of the day.

Then I got a text message. Reminding me that my hair appointment was on Thursday. As it was currently Tuesday, realization dawned on me that I was exactly 48 hours early.

My feelings of relaxation oozed away. Like water from a colander.

I explained the situation to the other hairdresser, who joked it’s better to be early than late, and took my leave.

I was feeling a bit discouraged and idiotic. Like a fish who finds they’ve jumped out of the water and smack into the middle of the dock. Because you see, it wasn’t the first time I had showed up at the right time on the wrong day. Or the right day and wrong time. Once I was two weeks early to an eye appointment.

Ugg. So, there I was kicking myself and thinking about the wasted time, wishing I didn’t have this past history of doing this before, and wondering what my husband would say when I showed up an hour early for our after-haircut-walk that we had planned.

We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.Do you ever feel this way? Surprised, and then embarrassed and disappointed that you have managed to do the same thing again.

Only sometimes it is a lot more serious than being two days early for an appointment.

Maybe you yelled at your kids again and you feel you are making no headway in patience. Maybe you just got done scrolling through Instagram and you find yourself judgmental and critical. Maybe you catch yourself playing favorites with your children. Telling your sibling an untruth. Trying to control the situation to get your desired outcome. Or maybe your past is haunting you and causing your shame.

Whether you are feeling like a failure. An imposter. A bad mother. Mired yet again in sin. Or just like you are not making any headway with your problems that haunt you.

You are not alone.

This is a universal and human problem.

And that is a comforting thought.

Because our enemy wants us to think that everyone else (or at least most everyone else) is not as flawed as us. Not as prone to make the bad choices we do. Not so mired in bad habits as we are. Or that they are all leading lives free from mistakes and surprises.

When the truth is, they are not.

We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.

How do I know you are not the only failure?

 

Because when I read the bible, I see a host of humans just like me who struggled and messed up and sinned and made the wrong choices. And while I am not cheering for them to do the wrong thing, it brings me comfort and encourages me that they are also human.

Abraham lies to the king about Sarah being his wife. And not just once, but twice.

Even after God corrects him, he does the same thing again.

I can relate with that.

And yet God doesn’t withdraw his favor from Abraham. He doesn’t strike him dead. No, he lovingly protects Sarah from the King’s advances and returns Abraham’s beautiful wife to him, yet again.

We may expect a little revenge or withdrawal from God about now in the story. But no. He still keeps his promise to give Abraham a son from which will spring a whole tribe to numerous to count. And what does he call Abraham? His friend.

I read this and know that God doesn’t retract his promises to us based upon our performance. He doesn’t ever abandon us based upon our choices. He doesn’t just leave us to muddle through and get ourselves out of our own messes. He is not vindictive, but instead forgiving. Gracious.

We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. That for our life to count our day must be going well and nearly perfect. That our mistakes unqualify us. Our sins keep us from being used in powerful ways by God. And yet none of this is true. God knows we are human. He knows our frailties, is not surprised by our sins, our day we think is unfolding in the wrong direction.

So, if you are wondering if God loves you. If his promises apply to you. If he is going to finish his work that he began in you, just start reading about the characters in the bible. And take comfort because they are flawed humans just like you and me.

They try and control their future. Like Tamar sleeping with Judah, and Sarah trying to get a child by giving Abraham her slave.

They lose their temper, like Peter cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s slave, or Moses yelling at the Israelites.

They forget to keep their commitments and fail to do what they are told to do, like Peter, James, and John falling asleep while Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gathsemone.

Some have a sordid past, like Rahab, who will marry an Israelite and be mentioned in the line of Jesus.

They fight and cheat their siblings, like Lea and Rachel and Jacob and Esau.

They are critical and judgement of their leader, like Miriam of her brother Moses.

They play favorites with their children, like Rebecca favoring Jacob over Esau, and then Jacob favoring Benjamin and Joseph over his other sons.

They persecute the saints, like Paul before his conversion.

They overlook their children’s indiscretions and fighting with one another, like David.

They run from their mission, like Jonah.

They are tormented and teased about being different, like Hannah who strikes a bargain with God to get a son.

If you think the bible is full of unflawed characters who do what they are supposed to do and don’t question God’s timing or make wrong choices, think again.

Biblical characters are unperfect. But God still uses them in his story of love and ministry.

We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.

 

You are in good company. And God can use you too?

 

Don’t get discouraged by life and your flaws.

God is using you too. And he promises he will complete the good work of salvation he started in you. He’s going to make sure you make it into his family and obtain salvation.

Now there is a comforting thought.

Take heart. Know you serve a loving God. A forgiving God. A God that is helping us all along the way. A God who uses highly flawed people.

Your mistakes and sins and life choices don’t disqualify you. They don’t keep you from being used in powerful ways. No, they are all part of his glorious plan. And they point others to God’s goodness.

Quit doubting that you will somehow blow your salvation, turn others from God, or miss your chance to leave a mark on others. Focus instead on doing the next right thing in obedience. Because he is cheering you on, using you, and extending his grace all over your life.

We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.

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

Theresa

 


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: How are your failures being used as an asset?

We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).

We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.

We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.

We have this false notion that God uses only nearly perfect people. The truth is that your mistakes and sins don't disqualify you, they point others to God's goodness.

 

What do You Believe About Others?

 

The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.I think it is sometimes interesting what we believe about others.

The people floating about us that we see in public spaces and private.

These beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true. Our reality.

And the funny thing is, our experiences often justify and prove our beliefs.

A friend and I were talking over a meal and I mentioned that I thought most people were basically helpful and friendly in public.

The look she gave me could have competed with a deer in headlights.

I paused. Replayed what I said through the soundtrack of my mind, and then wondered why she was looking at such me in such a startled manner.

Finally, she spoke.

I believe just the opposite, she said. Most people are out to get you, don’t care about you, and will turn on you if given the chance.

Now I looked like the deer in the headlights.

Clearly, we had differing opinions on the populace we lived among.

We were on either ends of the spectrum.

I stated my reasons for why most people could be trusted. Cited personal examples and gave antidotes and examples from my personal experience. I built up a case that was sound and overwhelming.

Then she stated her reasons why most people were not to be trusted and didn’t care a whit for you. She cited personal examples and gave antidotes and examples from her own life. Her case was also very strong.

The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.

How our life experiences shape our beliefs about others and life.

 

Bottom line, her experiences from her childhood and into adulthood had built a solid case that supported her beliefs about the populace.

And my experiences from childhood and life had formed and supported my case.

She had been bullied, teased, and suffered verbal abuse at the hands of her peers in school.

I hadn’t.

People judged her body harshly because she didn’t fit in with the popular norm.

I hadn’t.

On she went, marching to the present day.

I soon saw that if I had experienced those same incidents and situations, I would probably be distrustful of other people too.

After I shared my side, she saw how I had formed my opinions based upon my experiences.

We each had opinions that differed, and yet life was continuing to validate our opinions of others. What we were looking for, we saw.

I talked to another friend about this and asked her how she viewed others, and she agreed with me, that she was pretty trusting of other people, but she thought men were after only one thing.

Once again, her experiences confirmed this. She had been hit upon by lots of men.

I hadn’t.

I remember being in in elementary school and a friend asking me if it was weird to have freckles and red hair.

I remember looking at her and thinking she was weird to ask. No. It wasn’t weird. My parents had red hair. 4 of my siblings had red hair. Freckles landed on all of us. Freckles and red hair were normal to me.

But not to her.

I look back now, and I am sure I was the only girl she knew with red hair and freckles. I don’t remember ever seeing another one in our town.

The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.

We all see the world a little skewed. But those perceptions can change.

 

We get used to what we grow up around.

We believe what has happened to us in the past, will happen again in the future.  Our past, we think, indicates our future.

My friend had known unkind people from an early age. So naturally she would view the world through that lens.

My other friend had known men who wanted to flirt and make sexual advances. Naturally she viewed the world through that lens.

And I viewed the world through my lens and thought most people were nice because that was what I had experienced.

All of us were right in our own way. And yet we all saw the world a little skewed.

So how could we know the real truth?

And could our truth change over time?

I had another friend tell me she didn’t trust men because her father had left her life at a very early age. Because of this, she had a tough time trusting other men. Then she married a trustworthy guy. Slowly over time, her opinion about men changed. She saw her husband kept his word. Then noticed other men did too.

Another person changed her view slowly over time.

So why does this matter?

How do our opinion of others affect us?

The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.How the things that shape your life become the opinions you have of others and affect you in some important ways:

 

1. We often find what we are looking for. When we view the world and others through our specific opinion lens, we often find and look for confirmation of our viewpoint. A person who thinks people are nice, will notice when someone opens the door for them, smiles at them, or jokes with them. A person who thinks others are not nice, will notice when someone takes their parking spot, frowns at them, and cuts them off on the road. But not only will they notice these things, but these things will be remembered longer than the opposite things done for them.

Both may in the same day have the same number of people smile at them and take their parking spot, but one will remember the smiles, and the other will remember the parking lot steal. Both have confirmed their viewpoint they have of others.

2. How we think people will treat us, may affect the way we treat them. If we think people will not like us, we will put up our defenses and not be so friendly. We don’t want to get hurt again. But if we think people will like us, we may go up and introduce our self, mingle more, and take more risks with trying to make new friends.

3. Our opinions of others affects our fear and anxiety levels. Before visiting a foreign country, I heard stories of places with high levels of pickpocketing. Fear began to grip my travel plans. How would I carry my money? Suddenly the trip seemed less fun if I had to hide my money next to my underwear. Then I read in a travel book that the country I was visiting had very little pickpocketing. When I landed, I kept my purse wrapped around me and no money inside. It became apparent, though, that the guide book was correct. As my opinion changed, I was able to relax and quit worrying about my money and purse. The trip also became more pleasurable with my fear and anxiety abated.

The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.4. Our opinions of others often affects our opinions of God. If we distrust others, it is often hard for us to trust God. If people have been unfair to us, we are more likely to expect God to be unfair. If people show us grace and forgiveness, we are more apt to think God extends these to us too.

My mother had very conditional love and often let us know when we displeased her. Because of this, I grew up thinking I had to be nearly perfect to please God. The idea that God was already pleased with me in my current state was foreign to me until years later.

Remember my friend who didn’t trust men because her father was never to be trusted? She overlaid her opinions about her father onto God. For years, she thought God was not to be trusted, that he would break his promises without warning. Just like her dad had.

Changing her reality was a lengthy process, but so worth it.

The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality.

But that doesn’t mean those self-truths are correct.

Because of this, you may want to ask yourself: What are your opinions of others? How do those opinions affect your daily life choices and thoughts? Your anxiety and fear levels? Your view of God?

Let’s quit confirming our truths, if they are wrong. Let’s quit believing our past to be indicative of our future, if it is based upon flawed thinking.

Let’s start noticing the flaws in our thinking.

Start believing the real truth. God’s truth

Over time, it will become our reality

The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.

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

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: How do your views of life and others affect your views of God?

The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

The beliefs we hold about others and assume to be true often becomes our reality. They shape our life. But are those perceptions and belief systems correct? And how do those views affect us? Find out.

How Pride Impacts Our Relationships

 

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.“I think you are angry.”

“Nope.”  I spat out.

We were in our first year of marriage and driving north to visit friends.

“Well you sure seem angry.”

“I’m not,” I said staring at the red light we were waiting on.

Just breathe, I reminded myself. Stay calm.

“There is nothing wrong with admitting you are angry,” he said, a few minutes of silence later. “Anger is just an emotion. It doesn’t make you a bad person.”

I listened a little more intently. I had never heard that before.

“So, what if you are angry. Big deal. It would be better to admit you are angry and discuss it, than try and stuff it down and pretend you are not angry.”

“Maybe.”

He sighed. “Why is it so had for you to admit anything? To admit you are not perfect? To admit you are wrong?”

Ouch. I didn’t want to answer that question out loud.

We stopped for another light. He looked at me. I looked at him, trying to smile, but it felt so fake.

“Okay,” I spit out. “I am angry. I am angry at you. I am angry about this morning. I am angry.”

“Well,” he laughed. “Now don’t you feel better?”

Tears sprang to my eyes. Not with him laughing at me. No, I now felt like a failure.

He took my hand. “Do you know what? I love you when you are stubborn and don’t apologize, and I love you when you do. But it is so much easier to love you when you admit you are human and admit your faults. When you admit you are angry, when you really are angry. Just be honest. With yourself and me.”

 

How pride in a relationship affects  the relationships negatively, and why. 

 

Some conversations are tuning points.

Some conversations make us think and then come to new truth.

Some conversations we will remember in the future at just the right time.

This was one of those conversations.

I had always thought of myself as an apologizer. I don’t know how many times I had been told by my mother growing up, “Tell your sister you are sorry. Apologize to your brother.” And I had. I had always said the words, even if I had not always meant them.

But I had also been the perfect child in our family of six kids. The one where mom would say, “Why can’t you be like your sister?” and point to me.  Because I worked so had to do the right thing, I ended up apologizing a lot less than my always-in-trouble older brother and independent-and who-cares younger sister.

Yes, I grew up thinking I was related to Mary Poppins. “Practically perfect in every way.”

And when I grew older and time had passed, I realized that my mom was very prideful. I don’t ever remember her apologizing. And I had adopted more of her attitude than was good for me.

As I thought over the next months, and even years, about why it was so hard for me to apologize, to admit I was wrong, I came back to the same thing. My pride was tripping me up. Causing me to stumble and keeping me from confessing.

Pride of wanting to be right.

Pride of wanting to defend my actions. (After all, my reasons were so good.)

Pride of wanting to appear almost perfect.

Pride of what others would think.

Pride of exposing the truth to myself and others.

Pride of appearing weak.

Pride of admitting fault.

My pride was a stumbling block and affected my relationships. Because one thing pride likes to do, is lie. Pride lies all sorts of convincing lies. Lies that keep us from the truth. From perusing love. From abundant grace.  From growth and change. From deeper relationships. Pride is supposed to keep us from pain, but it doesn’t. Pride weaves elaborate lies that we tend to believe. Lies that in the end extract harsher consequences because of the tangle of deceit we create.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Some lies of pride we believe that hinder our relationships:

 

Others wont’s like/love us if they knew the truth.

Hide. Never tell. It is safer.

Forgiveness is never free. We must work to earn our forgiveness.

Confessing makes us indebted to the person.

Asking forgiveness is admitting guilt and a sign of weakness.

Come on. Technically we are not guilty. Look for a loophole.

Don’t admit guilt unless we are 100% wrong. 96% or even 5% does not count.

We may not be forgiven, so why bother.

The other person screwed up too. Let them confess first.

Forgiveness is over rated.

Confessing may ruin us.

These lies have no truth in them. Satan wants us to believe these lies because then we will walk in fear, and not in the light of forgiveness. Because then we will walk in the same old rut, and not newness and change. Because it will cut us off from community and help. Because when we are consumed with guilt and shame our eyes remain focused on our self, not on a God who redeems us, loves us, and pours abundant grace on our souls.

Pride is one of the main culprits that hinders our relationships with others. It is our pride that causes us to defend our actions. Justify and explain why we are in the right and turn and blame them for their wrong doing. Pride separates us from others. It causes us to lie to them and our self. It keeps us from doing the right thing in the relationship. It stops us from pursuing reconciliation, compromise, and forgiveness. Pride holds onto our pain and then we in turn lash out in pain.

Often, we know we are wrong, but it is our pride that keeps us from doing the right thing.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.How to deal with pride in a relationship; tips for chipping away the stumbling block of pride:

 

1. Strive for humility. Humility is seeing our self and God as we both really are. He is the only perfect one. We are the sinful one. And yet God want to have a relationship with us. He wants to parent us. Love us. Give us all sorts of good gifts. Call us beloved. When we realize that we are dependent on God and his forgiveness and grace (which he freely gives), that creates in us a desire to change and grow.

2. Take responsibility. It is so much easier than explaining why we didn’t really do something everyone knows we really did. Making excuses that make no sense, or trying to argue that it was really was someone else’s fault is just plain nonsense. Stop stepping away and instead take responsibility. People will be relieved, and our trust ratings will soar.

3. Just do it. Practice apologizing; it will become easier. Start with little things. Move to bigger things. Or do it the other way. Once you have confessed a big thing, other confessions may seem easier.

I remember the day I confessed to a big thing (Yes, I said the words out loud that I was not perfect!) My heart was racing, my palms sweaty. All the spit in my mouth had turned to dust bunnies. I knew my voice would crack. I knew my world would fall apart. But I did it. I squeaked out the words. And guess what? I survived. The world did not collapse. My heart kept beating. And of course, no one died of surprise. They already knew it. And still loved me.

I kept confessing. And it got easier.

The same will happen for us if we keep apologizing when we need to. The silly thing is, when we confess our wrong doing, we are usually not surprising anyone. Often everyone sees we need to confess before we realize it. If we have yelled at the family, they all know we yelled at them. There is no surprise when we say we should not have yelled at them and ask their forgiveness. Often there is just gratitude from them that we took responsibility for our actions, and now they can stop telling us we were wrong.

4. Keep it Simple. Forget the perfect words. Just say: “I am sorry for  – – – -, please forgive me.”

Remember, if we justify or make excuses, then we are no longer apologizing. “I am sorry I hurt your feelings, but you need to be nicer to me,” does not qualify. When we add a “but,” we are often justifying and blaming them. Saying, “I am sorry you feel that way,” is also not an apology. It is really telling them that their feelings are wrong.

After we say we are sorry, we can also offer some sort of restitution or help, if appropriate. “I know I didn’t mow the lawn like I said I would. Can I now clean the bathroom for you?”

 

Remembering what’s important.

 

I can’t say that I don’t still let my pride get the best of me. I do. But my husband was right. We are easier to love when we acknowledge we are human. When we admit our mistakes. 

It has taken me a long time, but I have learned that despite my aversions to it, confession is good for my soul. It helps restore relationships, keeps pride in check, stop the blaming and justifying of my actions, and passes grace and forgiveness out to others and myself.

So, go ahead.

Confess when necessary.

Apologize quickly.

Abundant grace awaits.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.

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

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What lies of pride do you believe?

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.