Ever have one of those days/weeks where you’re just reminded of all the things you’re terrible at? I’m really bad at keeping my cool when something upsets me. It’s also hard for me to hide my emotions – if I’m annoyed, you’ll see it plastered all over my face. And if I’m tired and then you annoy me? Oh, IT’S ON. I’m bad at making decisions…not in the sense that I’m always making bad decisions (although that does happen quite a few times), but in the sense that I just can’t make decisions. I’m too indecisive. I’m also not as independent as I’d like to be. While trying on saris to wear to my cousin’s wedding next weekend (happy wedding week, Tania!), I couldn’t make my own pleats! My mom finally just did it for me (bless her heart), because mine looked like a two-year old’s attempt at folding a blanket: scrunching all the fabric up and tucking it in. Just like that. And if that’s not enough, I’m kind of a mean person sometimes. This isn’t even the whole list of things I fail at. Trust me, there’s plenty more where these came from.
We all fail. We all have things about ourselves we’d like to change. It’s part of being human – we’re never satisfied with what we’ve got or with who we are. We’re almost always looking at the negatives and complaining about this, that, or the other.
I fail my God daily. Hourly. Probably even by the minute. Despite this, He hasn’t left my side. He hasn’t just called it quits and moved onto saving the next soul. No, He is patient with me and all my failures. He hasn’t given up on me despite the fact that I am constantly falling short. The Lord knows each of my flaws and failures. And loves me right on through each failed attempt at living for Him.
Our natural response to knowing we have sinned: feeling guilty and beating ourselves up over and over again. But the fact is, we really shouldn’t dwell so much on our failures. In the end, self pity takes center stage. And self pity is simply another form of self-centeredness. The Lord looks past our failures. Why can’t we? He knows we are human and we will fall short. We need to recognize that as well. The only way we can overcome failure is by looking to the only One who can pick us up, dust us off, and set us on our feet again with a renewed heart.
It doesn’t matter how many times we have sinned against Him, He loves us all the more. It doesn’t matter how many times we have tried to please Him, only to find ourselves in the same place as before – He is gracious and He is patient as long as we are sincerely trying to honor Him. Our value in the eyes of the Lord does not depreciate with each failed attempt at living for Him. If it did, we would all be in the negatives by now.
I get frustrated and disappointed with myself when I know I’ve sinned against the Lord, when I know my heart and mind have gone against what His Word teaches. When I harbor anger in my heart, when I share a little too much about someone else’s personal life, when I respond harshly to loved ones simply because I’m in a bad mood – all these things are moments in which I am distinctly aware of the sin in my heart, the sin that is encoded in my DNA. But these things don’t make God love me any less. These things don’t make Him want to kick me to the side. It’s crazy that He would put up with all of this, but He does! He is ever so patient and gracious.
When we fail, when we are made aware of our sinfulness, we must respond with thankfulness. Yes, you read that correctly. We should be thankful for our failures and flaws, for every shortcoming. Why? Because they make us acutely aware of our great need for our Savior. They make us realize that even in our attempt to live a life pleasing to God, we need His help. We can’t live a life that brings Him glory without His constant leading and assistance.
So instead of dwelling on all our shortcomings, instead of feeding our insecurities and listening to the devil’s whispers of how “bad” a person we are, we must set our eyes on the Lord. We must take all these failures and shortcomings and place them at His feet so that He can remove them from us and renew our hearts in Him. He can take every failure and make it something beautiful, if only we would trust Him and persevere in the faith. Sin is inherent in us. But the work Christ did on the cross covered those sins. So don’t beat down on yourself when you fall. Pick yourself up, refocus, and look to the Lord for strength.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.