Many of us do not take failure well. We can have one argument with our spouse, or get one reprimand from our boss, and BAM! We feel like a big fat failure – as if we have officially failed at everything instead of just making one small mistake.
Yesterday, I was sharing with my mom about one of my own recent failures and my mom said “We need to realize we are not a failure, we are just a work in progress”. I was like “that is SO good – and SO true!” I knew that minute that I would make that today’s mantra.
We need to be reminded that we are a work in progress and that work will never be finished until the day we die. We will 80 years old still working on making improvements, working to improve our communication, working to love people more, striving to impact more lives, trying tospend more time with our grandkids or whatever – but as long as we walk this earth and are still living in these imperfect human bodies, we will be a work in progress. That shouldn’t be discouraging because that also means we are constantly improving.
God Isn’t Finished With Me Yet
I had a plaque in my room growing up (still have it to this day, pictured right) that says “Be patient… God isn’t finished with me yet”. I think my aunt made it for me when I was 8-9 years old. I always loved that plaque because I HATED making mistakes and I knew God had His work cut out for me.
Even at an early age, I took failure really hard.I HATED letting my parents down. It made me a very defensive child – and even defensive adult. I wanted everyone to know I didn’t mean to mess up or didn’t mean to make someone angry. I wanted people to know my heart was right, but I was simply human – as if we need to explain that to anyone! We are ALL human and we ALL mess up. It’s just a part of life!
Sadly, so many of us put way too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. How stupid is that!? Ecclesiastes 7:20 says we all fail. “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” so it shouldn’t be a shocker to us or anyone else. It’s impossible to be perfect. It’s not a bad thing to TRY. In fact, it’s suggested we strive for perfection (“be perfect as your Father is perfect” Matt. 5:48) but we shouldn’t be surprised when we fail. Instead, we should be thrilled we are striving for perfection, working to improve and learning lessons along the way.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
How are we perfected? We are perfected through trials (James 1). Trials can be any number of things – from an argument with a spouse or struggling with your weight to battling cancer. A trial is a trial and in those trials we are reminded we are human and less than perfect.
Give yourself a break. You will fail, but you are not a failure. You are simply a work in progress.
He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. – Philippians 1:6