Feelings of failure are paralyzing and have been one of the most discouraging emotions I have experienced as a mother.
Recently I went out for errands and upon pulling back into my driveway, I sensed the paralysis of failure set in. I felt overwhelmed and under-equipped. It was all too much…too much for me to do, to fix, to organize, to control, to plan, to be responsible for, and I was so behind at it all. I was felt like I was failing at my job.
I knew as I sat in the driveway that my house was a total wreck. There were piles of laundry EVERYWHERE…clean clothes, dirty clothes, clothes that need folding, clothes that need putting away, clothes that get dropped somewhere in between. This makes it next to impossible to find matching socks for anyone, much less clean onesies for my baby or undershirts for my man. And to think, just a few days ago I was on top of the laundry. But like an out-of-control avalanche, feelings of failure caught up with me and threatened to bury me.
I was getting buried in thoughts like these:
If I were a good mom,
- clothes would always be clean and put away.
- I’d be creative and laid back and not freak out over messes.
- I’d be super patient and never raise my voice in frustration
- I wouldn’t always be chanting my theme song “hurry up hurry up hurry up LETS GO!”
- I would actually enjoy playing with blocks and play-dough.
- I’d be able to think of cool activities, cook great meals, keep the house from looking like a war zone, and at least look presentable while doing it all.
- I’d always be content to be at home with my kids…
Deep down I was afraid. Afraid of failing. Fear and failure are best friends…they usually go hand-in-hand. Afraid that I will let everyone down. Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only one who feels like a failure and just wants to quit?
The weight of my “failures” brought me to my knees. I sluggishly got out of my car, came in the house, greeted my sweet husband and tried to smile. He looked quietly at me, seeing through my smile to the struggle deep in my eyes. He tried to help me process my emotions, but with tears whelling up in my eyes, I told him that I needed a minute alone. I needed some face to face time with God. I headed into my room, closed the door behind me and I let it all go. I started writing my heart out to God. I was finding safety in the One who never condemns, getting as honest as this people-pleasing girl knows how to get. He reminded me of these truths that lead to FREEDOM, truths that release me from feelings of failure.
Four ways to get over feelings like a failure and get FREE:
1. Discern the voice of love from the voice of guilt. There is no room in our lives for agonizing over our failures, big or small. God never points out our shortcomings, only Satan does. He is called the Accuser because he wants us to only see our failures He wants us to stay in that place of guilt. Learn to distinguish the difference between thoughts that come from God and thoughts that come from the enemy. Stop and listen to the voices of failure and guilt and ask these questions:
1. Do I feel loved, cared for and empowered by the goodness of grace or do I feel condemned, judged and accused? God never condemns or accuses. Satan is the accuser, the father of lies.
2. Are these voices cloaked with gentleness, humility and love or or are these voices ridden with the heavy weights of perfectionism, finger-pointing and shame? God is consistently good and gentle in His love. He is fierce in His loyalty and commitment to us, but He never places shame on us or demands perfect performance.
2. Share the secrets of failure that leave you imprisoned…Don’t let these feelings of failure stay isolated in your mind and heart. Bring them out into the open. You are NOT the only one who feels guilty, ashamed or like a failure. When I feel these things, I am tempted to keep them a secret in order to give others the appearance that all is well in my life. The voice of failure will assault your mind and lead you into the bondage of discouragement, fear and depression. Tell God what you are feeling and tell someone who loves you. The enemy murders the innocent in secret. (Psalm 10:7-11) Thoughts that stay in the dark are just where the enemy of your soul has the power to assault you. Don’t give him the home court advantage where he can continue to paralyze you with the fear of failure. Let your feelings out, and let light in. Let truth, love and freedom take center stage. (Ephesians 5:13)
3. Speak words of truth out loud in the form of gratefulness and declarations. Your words are seriously powerful. (Proverbs 18:21) They have the potential to change our circumstances, to rechart the focus of our hearts and even alter the direction of our lives. Here’s an example of what it sounds like from my heart: God, thank you that I am a woman of peace and confidence. I have been rescued by grace, and have never needed to be perfect to receive that grace. I walk in your light with my head held high, not because I am perfect, but because I am loved with an unchanging love. My God loves me and I have that love to offer others. I do not love others based on their performance or perfection, and I don’t have to be perfect to receive love. I receive the love and acceptance of God right where I am today, and from that place of peace and acceptance I live, breath and have my being.
4. Thank God for the things you DO have, and forget the rest for now. I am not naturally organized, creative or administrative, but I sure do love music, encouragement and quality time. I love to sit and read books with my kids. I love to have dance parties in the kitchen. I love to snuggle up with them and talk, even if it’s about nothing important. I am good at encouraging my kids in their strengths and in their failures. I thank God for those gifts I am imparting into my children’s hearts and lives, and am sure that God made me their mom for a reason. I won’t neglect the other parts of life that need improvement, but I also will not allow my weaknesses to overshadow my strengths.
Receive God’s grace today. Let’s shift from the Failure to Freedom. He died to set us free. (Galatians 5:1) Walk in that freedom and grace today.
I would be so encouraged to hear how you deal with feelings of failure. How do you find strength to keep going when the paralysis of failure sets in?