I can definitely say that within the past couple of weeks I have failed in some areas that in my mind were under control but somehow, when tested, I found myself back at square one going through the motions of dealing with the discouragement of failure. I don’t know what it is for you, not keeping a consistent schedule for reading the bible, breaking a diet, drug usage, falling back into sexual sin, or blowing your budget, it can be devastating to make progress but continually backtrack, especially if it’s something you’ve dealt with for years. Sometimes you may want to give up completely, especially if you feel like you’ve let God or people in your life down. I’ve been there A LOT, but please don’t give up, continue to strive for excellence and keep pushing forward. This quote puts it perfectly, ‘failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker, failure is delay, not defeat, it is a temporary detour, not a dead end. To be totally honest, I wrote this particular blog out of the failures I’ve encountered within the past couple of weeks, it helps me to move forward and I hope it will be helpful on your journey to success as well.
- Remember that God loves you and will forgive you: We serve an awesome God, who truly loves and wants a relationship with us. Although sin can separate us from Him and we are definitely outside of His will when in sin, we are able to repent (read about true repentance here) and seek His forgiveness, which He has promised to extend as we extend that same forgiveness to others. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
- Forgive yourself: I notice that Many times after I make a mistake or fail at something important, like blowing my budget when I have a gazillion bills to pay or falling into sexual sin with my boyfriend I am the only one beating myself up about it for days or weeks at a time. I can be extremely hard on myself and at times this crosses over to other people I’m in relationship with as I can force my expectations of perfection onto them. But by reliving the moment I’m keeping it alive and allowing past occurrences to play a major part in my present. Worrying, calling myself names, dwelling on the false sense of being a failure all contributes to a feeling of being stuck and of pain. Whereas if I focus on forgiving myself and recognize my humanity while taking full responsibility for my mistake while learning from the lesson it brings a sense of strength and true compassion for one of the most important people in my world, me!
- Recognize that everyone fails at some point in their lives: Scripture tells us that we ALL fall short (Romans 3:32). but through His grace and by our faith we are saved! I am so happy that I have a God that truly loves me and understands that I will fail, but gives me the strength and provision to get up again and continue on my journey with Him. Although perfection is the goal it is a continuous effort that I’m not sure I will reach in this lifetimes. Failures will happen, but it’s how you recover that matters the most.
- Right your wrongs (if you can): If you’re able to return the dress you bought that blew your budget do so or if you failed at practicing patience with your kids or speaking kindly to your husband when frustrated then truly apologize and make an effort to search out strategies that will help prevent future occurrences. Although, you can’t actually go back in time you can rectify or try to make amends for some mistakes. As long as sorry doesn’t continually cross your lips for the same infraction and it’s genuine those that love you will most likely find it in their hearts to forgive and let it go.
- Focus on the future not your failures: In Philippians 3, Paul tells us not to focus on things in the past but to push forward towards what Christ has for us. This may be more difficult for some, as we have to get in a habit of controlling our thoughts and not allow them to control us. It is an art, which honestly I have yet to conquer myself but will as I grow and practice. There are many great resources online and books on the topic, but to start off try this: when a thought comes into your head that drags you back to that failure focus on the lessons learned and not the negatives, think about something else or a positive that came out of it. The bible tells us to think on positive things and replaying a mistake is doing just the opposite of what God told us to do.
- Get your game plan together: Life is kind of like a game, full of obstacles, set backs, wins and successes but the best players always have a plan! While our plans may not always work out as we’d like, I truly believe that a failure to plan is a plan to fail. In His word, God tells us that He will always give us a way out of temptation and that we have the power to resist temptation and flee the devil. We have power, we just have to use it. If you find yourself constantly falling into the same trap or giving into the same sin make a plan to help prevent even taking that route in the future.
I hope these pointers help, what are some things you do to prevent wallowing in failures, please share below!