I would love to start by assuring you that success is never ending and failure is never final.
But I have been told “you are not good enough, you are not enough, you’re the only one who does this, there you failed again” So have I. And guess what? It really hurts but not because they said it but because you believed them and yourself. Why try again? I can never make it, no need of trying again. The seeds of the fear of failure are planted.
At the root of all negativity is fear.
I believe that’s why so many people are mean to others, even outright callous. You know what I have found as a common denominator in most cases? They are scarred. They are afraid. They are hurting. They are projecting their pain. Hurt people hurt others. Bosses, parents, spouses, siblings. And the world doesn’t make it better. Life is unfair. People become users of people and lovers of things. I could be philosophizing but that’s not my intention. I am pointing out to the gravity of failure and the effects on ourselves and others. You see, even when others are wrong or not being their best, if you have overcome that particular struggle you become more empathetic than judgemental. You have become a warrior. We could say you have earned the right to understand. You can offer a shoulder for someone. You are not afraid to be vulnerable. No walls to hide our flaws. When you are at peace in your heart, you are not affected by the chaos of the world around you. They become beautiful chaos.
Let me tell you friends. When the enemy has succeeded in putting you down, you are discouraged, disillusioned and in despair, he is elated and has succeeded to thwart God’s plan for you. You can do little if you are depressed. You are chained. You find it hard to move on, to forgive yourself and others, you’re a victim of circumstances. That way you aren’t a threat to the kingdom of darkness. Coz you’re a wounded soldier. In your wounded state, you are vulnerable for greater downward fall but not able to kick the enemy. Shame is the result. Depression. Dissilusionment. Discouragement. Dreams wither and die. You survive instead of thriving. You mill at work, in marriage, in your studies and relationships in general. I have seen people who could care less. I dare admit I have been there.
The game of shame
“Shame! We’ve all experienced it, some more than others. Unfortunately some people jump to the conclusion that when things go wrong it is because of something they have done wrong” Robert Schuller
Maybe. Not necessarily. Sometimes not at all.
The effects that shame brings are so overwhelming as to make you never want to show up again. You act indifferent but deep down you know you’re just putting up a performance. And you wonder am i the only one who fails? Am I the only one? Am I alone? How do I break free? Would people accept me if they knew the ‘real’ me? Does God even care? Its easier to ignore, numb and dismiss after all I want to belong, so lets dress in a smile… It all looks convincing. Only when no one is looking, you fall apart…
I don’t know about you but I have struggled with feelings of shame. Not being enough. Not feeling good enough. Not feeling worthy.
Shame is blame turned inward. Searing, debilitating, life-threatening shame. It’s not your usual embarrassing moment.It tears the soul and sears the heart. It threatens to numb our mind and will. “It’s my fault.” Robert Schuller
Am I the Only One Who Fails?
Probably that’s why you are so harsh with yourself. You trivialize your purpose. I can do it later… you say. You feel unworthy of God’s grace. Or you treat others as if they are less worthy of God’s love. For we can love others to the extent we love ourselves. For me the fear of failure has manifested in not wanting to wake up. I literally hibernate. I sleep in, waiting till am rested enough to start the day. I was sharing with my mizizi group at church how I’ve been a perennial snoozer since I was young… I negotiate with my brain is it important, is it urgent. Obviously I trivialize and quickly get back under covers. For others, we medicate with food, our phones, gossip and tearing others down, sex outside of marriage, drugs and alcohol – even painkillers, TV and movies, pornography, work and some more work even charity and church service or a search for fame (instagood, right?). And while most of these are useful, the motive could be fear.
As long as we are human and are on this broken world, some things will not be okay.
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging. Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we are all in this together.” Brene Brown
We need to be okay not being okay.
“Everyone deserves a healthy, happy life. Unfortunately living a good life, doing all the right things, heeding all the right warnings will not guarantee that life will be free of sickness or death. We can only do the best we can, take what life deals to us and believe that we deserve the best!… And when you don’t get what you deserve then admit it, I’m ok. But life’s not fair but God is good – anyway.” Robert Schuller
- It’s God who daily bears our burdens
- He wipes our tears
- He takes away our shame
So we can say with confidence – My redeemer lives.
Its not having much that satisfies, its the condition of our hearts. We can begin to treasure what we have. I invite you to join in with Francesca Battistelli to say “I don’t need my name in lights I am famous in my father’s eyes.”
- I am worthy
- I am loved known and accepted
- My God loves me with an everlasting love
To Him be the glory
Psalms 139:13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.
Psalms 139:17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.”
Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
Psalms 68:19 Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. Interlude
I dedicate to you the Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns.
Life is not fair but God is good, a book by Robert H Schuller
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, a book by Brene Brown
He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli
PS. All bible verses here are derived from the New Living Translation version
Continued in Part 2.