Failure often makes me want to give up, mainly on myself. On Wednesday, I heard from woman after hurting woman saying they had given up – mainly on themselves.They were ready to quit. They were beat down. But that day, they felt God reaching down for their hand offering to hold it and help them get up – so they wouldn’t give up!
Aren’t you tired of wanting to give up?Somehow discouragement becomes our go-to emotion. It became mine as a young girl and followed me into my adult years.
But one day, I decided I was tired of letting the enemy win. I was tired of allowing defeat and discouragement to set in. I was tired of feeling like failure is final.
God challenged me to believe that “greater is HE who is in me” than the one who was trying to defeat me.
Although Christ rescued me from the pit when I was 21, it took me ten years of being a Christian before I realized I was saved, but I wasn’t completely surrendered.
I am convinced so many children of God walk in discouragement and defeat because they are saved but not completely surrendered moment-by-moment to God’s thoughts, God’s will, God’s perspective, God’s power. They are still trying to change and live in their own strength. And nothing changes so they give up - on themselves and God.
And that is just where the enemy wants us! If he can’t separate us from God’s love, he’ll do all he can to keep us from experiencing Love’s transforming power.
What does Love’s transforming power look like when we fail forward? I don't have all the answers for sure, but I have some thoughts that are tumbling in my soul that have helped me surrender to Christ's life in me, so that I could experience victory over the darkness and discouragement in different ways each day...
At work – When I fail to meet other’s expectations, I just need to stop and ask myself– what am I responsible to do? Is there anything I am not doing to fulfill my commitment? If so, what do I need to do to live up to my promise? What do I need to say no to so that I can say yes to be an excellent employee who is working “as unto the Lord” in all that I do?
We need to stop the habit of beating ourselves up with so much critical thinking. What are we doing talking to a child of God the way we talk to ourselves? When criticism comes, if we have done our best, we can rest in knowing that we did the best we could. You can say, “I was faithful with the little things and I am believing God to entrust me with a little more. And I will trust His timing. If He doesn’t provide the way I want, I will not accuse myself of disappointing Him. I will remind myself of what I have done and I will keep being faithful and watching for His faithfulness.” If we didn't we give grace to ourselves and try again - moving in forward motion.
At Home – We cannot keep up with all that it takes to cook, clean, care for kids and husbands, serve our families and everyone else that needs something. We need to sit down once a week and acknowledge God in all our ways by sitting down with Him to plan out our days. We need to plan them in such a way that we can “smile at the days ahead.” Most of us have completely unrealistic expectations of ourselves. But God doesn't!
What is realistic for you to accomplish in one day? Write it down and leave room for the unexpected. If you find that you weren’t able to do as much as you thought, then the next week plan less.
Say no to all those requests for your time. Yes, we need to serve others, but if you can’t take care of your family in a healthy balanced way, then you have no business trying to serve in a ministry outside your home. Your family is God’s number one assignment/ministry. Don’t let anyone guilt you into doing something at the church or at the school if it costs you your family. Look for creative ways for them t serve with you so they learn the value of servanthood, but balance is key.
None of us had any idea what we were getting into when we got married or had kids, did we? I know I need lots of help and guidance every day in these departments. I have got to fill my mind with God's Word and become familiar with all His ways to be able to love my husband and my kids the way He loves me. And that is the goal. To surrender to God loving them through me.
It's not about shaping and molding them into who I want them to be so I can get the life I always wanted. Although, believe me that was my goal early on. But a few years ago God got a hold of my selfish ambition and showed me that my pursuit of the "happily ever after" isn't about me - it's all about HIM! He gave me this man to love and these kids to nurture so that they can become all that God created them to be.
So, I do the best I can. And when I fail, I apologize. Almost every day I am saying I am sorry, will you forgive me? for something, to somebody. Asking for forgiveness humbles me and releases me from guilt because I know I walk in God's forgiveness and grace.
I read my Bible regularly and memorize God's word so that I know His thoughts towards me and can run into His arms to be assured of and guided by His truth each day. And I read a lot of solid Christian growth, marriage and parenting books. I look for ways to apply what I am reading and learning. I don't just read to gain knowledge, I read to be changed. I don't want to stay the same. "God loves me just the way I am but He cares about me too much to leave me this way. He wants me to become just like Jesus." (Max Lucado)
And when I fail, I choose to fail forward...
Because I am a woman who is becoming all God created her to be.
A woman who is growing.
A woman who is getting better and better each day.
A woman who is not perfect - but who is trying to surrender to God's perfect love and perfect power at work in her, one day, one moment at a time. What about you?
Renee and Cullen is the winner from last Friday - which includes 2 copies of The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary by Susie Larson. One for you and one for a friend.