Monday, October 19, 2015

31Days - Failure

October 17, 2015
I am panicked. I woke up this morning knowing that I had less than three hours to shower, get ready for lunch with my in-laws, and... write this blogpost. And I had absolutely no idea what topic to cover. By the time I was done with my morning routine, I was down to two hours. And I still had no idea what I was going to write about. You need to understand... I've been spending several hours each day researching the scriptures for the day's topic. After that, probably an hour or two putting it all together to make some logical sense of it (at least I hope it makes sense). Then it probably takes me another hour or so to get it into blogger with all the right formatting. Oh! And I've been known to take an hour or more to find the "right" image!

In reality, this little writing challenge hasn't been so little. It's taken a major chunk of each day. Fortunately, my husband has been totally supportive. He's run and gotten kids when I was frantically trying to finish up a post. He's suggested pizza delivery when he's realized that dinner plans have not even entered my mind. He's also been the one to see what I've been learning and how good this has been for me.

It has been good!

But it has also not been a "quick write-up" each day. And this morning I had two hours... with no idea what I was going to write; no research done. I spent the next hour just trying to figure out what I could write about that wouldn't require more soul-searching and pouring over the Word than I had time for. I was down to an hour. And, yes, panicked. I took a break to take care of laundry... and now I am down to about 30 minutes. But... I'm getting somewhere... because the (obvious) fear suddenly smacks me upside the head....

My fear for Day Seventeen:

I am afraid of failure.

That's the fear. But what's the real Truth? Truth with a capital T?

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:10)

I am God's workmanship!

Why is that important here – in a post on the fear of failure? Because we tend to equate experiencing failure with being a failure. If I don't meet the deadline on the blog, I believe people will look at me as a failure. You get laid off and have no idea how you're going to support your family – you feel like a failure. Your kid struggles with dyslexia and has trouble reading as easily as the other kids – he feels like a failure. You try and try and try to lose that last 10 pounds – and you feel like a failure. The list goes on. But hear this. You are NOT a failure. I am not a failure:

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
(Psalm 129:13-14)

I am fearfully and wonderfully made!

I am not a failure.

Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
(Psalm 139:14)

God's works are wonderful – and I am one of them!

I am not a failure.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
(Psalm 139:15)

I was skillfully wrought!

I am not a failure.

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.
(Genesis 1:31)

God's creation is not a failure; we are very good.

It wasn't until after man was created that God called creation "very good." Up until then, it was just good. For me to call myself a failure is to question God's judgment (He called us very good). To call myself a failure is to in fact, call Him a failure. I can't say that I am a failure without saying my Creator failed. The only possible conclusion is that:

We are not failures.

However, it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE.
(Romans 3:10)

...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
(Romans 3:23)

All of us have failed.

There isn't a single one of us who hasn't failed at some point. We all have sinned. But the thing I need to realize is that experiencing failure does not mean I AM a failure. In fact, God uses failure to grow us and make us more like Christ. We all fail. Hebrews 11 (known as the Hall of Faith) contains an impressive list of heroic figures from the Old Testament. They are remarkable men and women whose stories stand out to encourage and challenge our faith. Yet I can – off the top of my head – name failure in the lives of almost every one of them. They experienced failures including doubt, lying, cheating, sexual sins, murder, poor parenting (your son rapes your daughter and you do nothing?!), the list goes on. These men and women, like all of us, had moments of failure. Yet they were not failures. Instead, they were listed as heroes of our faith.

How can that be?

My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:26)

God is our strength, even when our flesh and hearts fail.

God told Joshua:

"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you."
(Deuteronomy 31:6)

God will not fail us.

And just in case Joshua missed, it, God repeated Himself:

"The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you;
He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed."
(Deuteronomy 31:8)

God goes before us (and will not fail).

David echoed those words to encourage his son:

Then David said to his son Solomon, "Be strong and courageous, and act;
do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you.
He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.
(1 Chronicles 28:20)

Don't fear – ACT! As long as we are about God's work, He will not fail or forsake us.

Did you catch that?! Nike may have thought they created a great ad slogan, but David said it long before Nike did: "Just do it! Don't fear - act! God is with you."

And circling back to Ephesians 2:10:

For we are God's masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
(Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

I am not a failure – I am part of the plan!

He created me to do things He planned long ago. The things I put my hand to, He had planned out since the beginning of time. He prepared them for me. He created me for them. Everything I am – everything I do – is all part of the plan! That doesn't deny free will or my poor (rebellious) choices. But even my failures, God has a plan for.

And God's plans don't fail.

So... it's now a full two days from the time I first started writing this post. If you had told me at the beginning of the 31 Days of Writing challenge that I would be two days late with a post... well, it wouldn't have been a pleasant thought. Even two days ago I wasn't happy about it. I knew I was going to be late, but even at that I considered "adjusting" the publication date. I just couldn't let go of the idea that the day of the month should match the number of posts I'd written! The 17th fear should be on the 17th of the month. There was a little bit of OCD there. And there was probably also a little bit of the fact that any mismatch would point out my failure. I thought if I could get it posted early on the 18th, I could adjust the publication date and live with it. As it became obvious that it wasn't even going to be completed by the 18th, I started letting go of my OCD just enough to realize that I needed to post it with today's date. I needed to face the failure. There's a gap. And that's okay. I failed to make an arbitrary deadline created by man. I didn't get it completed enough to post. But I've been writing each day. I'm searching. I'm learning. I'm not a failure. And God's timing is perfect. He even used my failure to speak to me about my fear of failure. He's good like that. He's God like that.

Father God, it's so hard for me to put myself into a situation where I might fail. I hate the idea of looking like I've failed... of looking like a failure. I don't want to be judged like that. But in truth... it's me who is doing the judging. And in doing so, I am making a judgment about You, my Creator! Help me instead to really grasp the truth of just how wonderfully I am made and how very much You love me. Help me to remember that Your plans never fail... and I am a part of those plans. What I see as failure has been a part of Your plan all along. I am not a failure. I am part of the plan. What an amazing privilege! What an amazing God!

Fear: I am afraid of failure.


  • I am God's workmanship, skillfully wrought, and fearfully and wonderfully made. (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:13-15)
  • God's creation is not a failure; we are very good. (Genesis 1:31)
  • All of us have failed, (Romans 3:10; 3:23) but God is our strength, even when our flesh and hearts fail. (Psalms 73:26)
  • God goes before us and will not fail us. (Deuteronomy 31:6; 31:8)
  • Don't fear – act! As long as we are about God's work, He will not fail or forsake us. (1 Chronicles 28:20)
  • I am not a failure – I am part of the plan! (Ephesians 2:10)
  • God's plans don't fail.

Note: This post is part of a 31-day writing challenge. Click here to see the rest of the posts on my 31 Days of Fear (and Truth).

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