Pamela Myers Palmer
You Are(n't) a failure
Updated: Jan 9
"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead." Philippians 3:13
You aren't a failure. But I know your mind may be telling you different. I missed my anniversary. I didn't get the job. I don't make enough money. I yelled at my kid. I sinned... again. I argued with my spouse. We like to play over and over in our minds the mistakes we make, and our film usually ends with, "I am a failure." And then we're left with plenty of awful feelings of guilt and shame that accompany that sort of conclusion.
Negative self-talk and thoughts provoked by the enemy are perpetuated by an identity not grounded in Christ but based on temporary roles and labels. If we see ourselves through Christ's eyes, failure is no longer part of our vocabulary. Your identity is in Christ as a believer, and that goes much deeper than any successes you achieve here on earth.
I dropped out of high school, didn't get married until almost 30, have student loan debt, drive a used car, and bought a house that was built over 30 years ago. All of these are so-called failures. It'd sound much better if my story went like this: "I graduated high school valedictorian, got married right after graduating college cum lauda on a full scholarship, drive a brand new Mercedes, and just moved into a newly custom built half a million dollar home." Anyone could look at my circumstances and think, "Well, she gave it a nice shot. Better luck next time. (FAIL)!"
I don't want the life that sounds better. I want the version of life where I live for God not myself. The life where I further His kingdom rather than trying to build my own here on earth. I want the life where I have joy in the Lord not the fleeting happiness that comes from an accumulation of things. With an identity in Christ, I know who I am and what matters most. In fact, I'd drop out of high school all over again because it was part of God's plan for my life. I'd wait until 45 to get married if that's how long it would take for me to meet the husband right for me. And I'd still take out those student loans if it meant that I got to pursue the training and education to do the ministry that God has called me to. My life's goal is not to store up treasures here on earth; in fact, we are warned against doing that.
So, you get it all? And then what? Life is just as mundane and you're just as thirsty for something more. That something more is Christ. And in Him you will find a real and lasting peace, hope and joy that no circumstances can shake. In Him you will find an identity that is grounded in His sacrificial love for you.
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