Confidence in Failure

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I’ve had one of those weeks where I just seem to be failing. I am not doing life very well, and the more I fail, the more frustrated with myself I become. Normally for me this turns into a vicious cycle. First, I fail. I lose my temper with my kids, I don’t actually live a structured life, I poorly handle a situation with a friend, I’m grumpy with my husband, I choose to indulge in a show or a song I know isn’t probably the best for my heart. And then I assume that because I’ve failed, God is angry and doesn’t want to talk to me, and in order to get back in His good graces, I have some making up to do. Being extra disciplined, not smiling for a while, chastising myself an appropriate amount of times…etc. And then because I feel that God is angry, I feel disappointed in myself which leads to me being irritable and easily disappointed with others, which leads me to fail again. Lose my cool, bite someone’s head off, gossip, be jealous…indulge in another death-bringing option. And the crazy cycle has begun.

BUT! This week I had break through. I still lost my temper and just didn’t really engage as well as I would have liked, but in the aftermath, I didn’t sit around fretting over how mad God was. I just simply went to Him and said, “I’m really sorry. Can I have a second chance?” He is so good at second chances. He is so good at not condemning us.

This is key in my relationship with Him: to believe He isn’t sitting in Heaven with a pair of scissors hovering at the ready over the thin thread of my eternal salvation, ready to snip it at any moment if I fail badly enough.

Instead, He is at once the Holy Spirit who helps me in my weakness (Romans 8:26), the Son who lives to make intercession for me in order to save me completely (Hebrews 7:25), and the Father who chooses to sweep my offenses away like the morning mist (Isaiah 44:22). The character of God is revealed in His word, and He is FOR us. Not against. Satan in Revelation is called the accuser of the Brethren in chapter 12 verse 10.

Why do I so often get those two very crucial roles confused in my mind?

The Bible makes it clear over and over again that we are children of God- and that gift of sonship is a direct result of the Father’s love for us (1 John 3:1). He looks at us like a Father would his very precious son. Think of the best father you know, and then realize God makes even that father pale in comparison to His father’s heart towards us. When my daughter messes up, I want her to come running to me. I want her to feel freedom to know that I never lose sight of her value in the midst of her personal struggles. She is mine, and nothing she does erases that fact. Love is my first reaction to her need. I don’t want her wallowing in shame after I discipline her, either. I want her to go enjoy life and learn from the experience. I can’t imagine God is any different. We can have confidence that His heart is FOR us.

“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:38-39

One of my friends came over this week and was talking about a walk we took a few weeks ago where she confided in me that when she gets to Heaven she kind of feels like God is just going to yell at her for a while because of all of the dumb things she’s done. I laughed out loud when she said it, and when she was relaying the story two days ago to a bunch of our friends she said, “That was momentous for me, to have you laugh at the silliness of that thought. It showed me how ridiculous it really was.”

What if Eve, when she first saw that glistening fruit and heard the slippery words of the serpent just cried out, “Father! God! Help me! I am confused about Your character, but I trust my status with You enough to know You aren’t mad at my confusion.” Things might have turned out a little differently. I’m putting an end to my crazy cycle today. I am choosing to resist the lie that God is mad at me when I fail, and I’m choosing instead to call out to Him in the very moment I feel my obedience is being tested. He is a good Father. I am His chosen child.

 

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