A Sense of Failure

winter_bench

Tucked within the overload of our lives is a lurking assailant that makes quick work of our joy and hope. It’s the incessant feeling of failure, whether it’s real or perceived.

Ever been there? It’s about done me in.

Spread too thin, there are no resources, time or energy to do anything well. We are our own worst critic. It’s a weight that is never lifted. We are well aware of what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. Our 24/7 media sees to that. Climb the corporate ladder in 10 easy steps. Eat more veggies. Read to your kids. Exercise 4 days a week. Date your spouse. Reduce your debt. Coach little league. Save the world. You get the idea.

Little in our lives makes a passing grade. I’ve felt this working on staff at a church full-time pulling 50-60 hours each week. I’ve felt it as a mom through every season: stay-at-home, homeschooling, work-outside-the-home. It doesn’t matter what hat we wear, the sense of failure is a one-size-fits-all equal opportunity deal. No one is immune.

No one, but Jesus. With his ears and heart riveted to the Father, he operated under God’s marching orders, every step he took. With that intimacy and level of obedience, there was no room to feel like a failure. Ever.

Will we ever feel failure-free? Not this side of heaven, but I do think we can reduce the power of its vice-like grip on our souls.

Next week, we will dive into the one thing that has harnessed and contained the monstrous sense of failure I’ve been burdened by in my life. I pray it will be a gift that alters the contours of the New Year before us. But first, am I alone on this one, or is it universal?

Is a “sense of failure” common, relentless or does it only rear it’s ugly head at certain times in life?Who’s more prone? Men or women? Young or old or mid-life? Certain personality types?

I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to tease this one out. Where do you feel it the most? Health and habits? Family life? Your vocation? Spiritual growth? Relational stability?

 

Love Makes A Difference!
Josh has an opportunity to win a short-story/photo contest called “Why I Farm.”  Beck’s Seed Company is distinctly Christian and more than willing to see Josh participate.  The $25,000 top prize is in seed, but we have it all worked out that the money will be able to be utilized to help fund Jing’s adoption costs … with any extra going to the orphanage in Mexico (www.ffhm.org).  The after the “award tax” winnings would raise $5,000 to $16,000 for the top 3 winners.  Josh could have a chance, but some mountains need to be moved.  Josh will need 40,000 to 50,000 votes.  The contest ends March 3.  People can vote every day.  Can you join in?!  Once on the site, click on the vote link at the top.  Create a one-step account that only requires your email address.  It will not be used in any way.  And vote.  Can you pass this on?  Vote every day if you can!

20 comments on “A Sense of Failure

  1. brooke silk says:

    Your email really got me thinning. Feeling like a failure…. It can almost feel like a daily occurrence with my relationship with God.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • brendajank says:

      Brooke,
      This side of heaven we will fall painfully short. I hate that fact, but it is true through and through. We’re all in the same boat. God’s goodness, His overwhelming provision in Jesus’ obedient love that took Him to the cross, for me, carries, sustains, alters my hope for what is to come and how we walk with him today. Let’s talk soon, but tomorrow begin your day by reading Zephaniah 3:14-20. Focus your attention on verse 17 and listen to Jesus singing His love song over you. Brooke, what song do you imagine He might sing?

  2. Roxanne Starrett says:

    brenda, i would love to support josh in the “Why I Farm” contest, but i can’t seem to find his page. i found the contest, and looked through the 11 pages of entries. can you help by showing his cover picture for the page or something? :)

    • brendajank says:

      Roxanne! Thank you! You’re not alone. It’s a little tricky.
      http://www.whyifarm.com (I forgot to include it.)
      1. At each step, you often have to go back up to the top right-hand corner and click on the tab that says “Vote or Share a Story.”
      2. You will need to create an account. All you have to do is provide your email address. They will not pass it on. (trusted, high quality company). An activation link will be sent to your email. To do this: a) click on the “Vote” tab in the upper right hand side. b) click on it. c) In the next screen, you should see Josh’s photo. Click on it. c) A full photo of Josh will fill the screen. Click under the thumb where it says, in tiny print, “log-in or sign up to vote.” Follow the directions.
      3. Once your account is set up. a) click on “Vote” tab in the upper right side. b) In the next screen, you should see Josh’s photo. Click on it. c) A full photo of Josh will fill the screen. Click under the thumb where it says, in tiny print, “log-in or sign up to vote.” d) log in e) hit the vote box when Josh’s photo pops up again. Thanks!

    • betty says:

      You see him in a brown hat and green jacket. Right now he has 531 votes.

  3. betty says:

    Failure! Sometimes I fear that will be engraved on my tombstone. I think for me it has to be…all of the above. Health…sucks….partly my fault. Homemaker….I never had the skill of hospitality or neatness or cooking….the skills that women are expected to have. But relationally….wow! The big D. Divorce. Unwanted. Not good enough. “Someone will want you, just not me.” Friends run from the pain that comes with divorce often. And then you don’t fit in. All the things that couples do. Kids struggle. And it all comes back to God. Will God want this failure? I’m not good enough or smart enough or talented enough. If I was ok…I wouldn’t have been rejected…so God won’t want me either.
    But let me step back. See, all that is lies. I couldn’t be what my husband wanted, but he wanted the wrong things. I was a threat to him, because….all the things I couldn’t do well….I tried…but what I did do well was love. I loved my kids. I loved him. I loved our friends. But mostly I loved God. God brought me through all the traps laid in my path. He helped me love through the abuse….through the surgeries…through times when death appeared to be the only option. Jesus. He walked each path that I walked. He took…and takes….each tear I cry and holds them in a bottle. He chose me from the foundation of the world and invited me to know Him and walk with Him. He has never called me “failure”. I’m a success. I chose Him. My ex will look and he will see me. He knows there is something that has kept me strong….even in my weakness. He just doesn’t know Who it is. So who’s the failure. Don’t listen to the lies. Don’t call God a liar. He made you and He doesn’t make trash. He loves you. You have value. Failure. Only in the eyes of the world and they don’t count.

  4. Christy says:

    I am certain the “sense of failure” is common and your reference to “real or perceived” is a key piece of the puzzle. Look at the numerous self-help books on the shelves. I must admit…I have attempted to find answers through a couple of those books. If only we could remember to see ourselves as God sees us – forgiven.
    Does research indicate that certain personality types are more prone to dealing with the sense of failure? I can’t see strong type A personalities beating themselves up over events or decisions. Perhaps the difference is how they handle “failure.” It would be interesting to delve into the data.
    Perhaps the sense of failure is the product of several factors that work together. Childhood environment, personality, and our relationship with God come to mind as the mainstays of our relationships with others and how we feel about ourselves. Satan certainly knows where our weaknesses lie and when to hit us!

    • brendajank says:

      Christy,
      I’ve always felt that Satan has a tool box with our names on it. He knows where we are most vulnerable. What personality inventories do you find most helpful? Bottom line, we serve the One who forgives and brings new life again and again and again. So very grateful. Blessings, Brenda

  5. Jan says:

    Amen,sister! You hit the nail on the head. So nice to know we’re not alone!

    Doing it all and doing it well is not possible. I’ve had a common thread running through at least two, maybe three conversations this week: we think we can’t get it all done so we are searching for ways to stay up later or get up earlier to get more done, and yet our bodies are telling us that we need more sleep! The sense of failure stems from the fear of letting people down in what we fail to accomplish. Sigh. Rest.

    • brendajank says:

      Jan – hi!
      It’s a tempting treadmill. We buy the lie. You nailed the first step — identifying that we fear letting others (or ourselves) down. We have to see it. Name it. Confess it. Box up the red cape. And be who He made us to be, limits (divinely established limits) and all. OK — now how do we spread the word? Too many suffer. The price tag is staggering.

  6. Suzanna Hicks says:

    I want to vote but am not sure which website to visit? I don’t see a vote button. Thanks.

    Suzana

    • betty says:

      Go to “why I farm” one word dot com…or start at beck’s hybrids. It pretty easy once you see Josh’s picture

    • brendajank says:

      Thank you Suzanna !! You’re not alone. It’s a little tricky.
      http://www.whyifarm.com (I forgot to include it. Sorry!)
      1. At each step, you often have to go back up to the top right-hand corner and click on the tab that says “Vote or Share a Story.”
      2. You will need to create an account. All you have to do is provide your email address. They will not pass it on. (trusted, high quality company). An activation link will be sent to your email. To do this: a) click on the “Vote” tab in the upper right hand side. b) click on it. c) In the next screen, you should see Josh’s photo. Click on it. c) A full photo of Josh will fill the screen. Click under the thumb where it says, in tiny print, “log-in or sign up to vote.” Follow the directions.
      3. Once your account is set up. a) click on “Vote” tab in the upper right side. b) In the next screen, you should see Josh’s photo. Click on it. c) A full photo of Josh will fill the screen. Click under the thumb where it says, in tiny print, “log-in or sign up to vote.” d) log in e) hit the vote box when Josh’s photo pops up again. Thanks!

  7. Gail Schluter says:

    It is so good we are not alone in this!! Perfectionists do often feel like failures; I can vouch for that! I know I’m far from perfect, never will be this side of Heaven. But there is One who understands and loves us all unconditionally, including each flaw and failure. We have to keep on getting back up and trusting God for strength and grace to continue on our journey. I had gotten so “stuck” for fear of failure that it paralyzed me. Still working on this one with His help every step of the way.

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