Most of us have said this to ourselves from time to time when things didn’t go as planned. It’s normal to occasionally feel you’ve let yourself down; but there are some who take it to heart, and it almost becomes their personal mantra. Defeated thinking goes from zero to sixty in an instant. If you gain a few pounds- it’s because you failed your diet. If you forget your kid’s lunch for school- it’s because you are a horrible parent. When you lose your temper and say something to your spouse that you regret- it’s because you are not a good spouse. We internalize these thoughts until we actually believe that every little mishap in life was somehow caused by our own failure.
We have this image in our minds of what life is supposed to be - a plan we create based on our environment growing up. We are groomed from a young age to depend on success, money, or a soul mate to make us happy. We then try to live by “the plan,” to get good grades, go to college, get the job, fall in love, get married, and then live happily ever after. When things don’t quite pan out that way, we immediately feel like somehow we have failed. All around us are Facebook profiles, Instagram photos, and magazines portraying what look like perfect lives, full of flawless people. But what if we aren’t happy? What if we don’t get the ultimate job? What if our marriage dissolves? When our only compass in life comes from a fantasy we’ve created for ourselves, we are destined to continue “failing”.
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)
Failure is “lack of success,” but what if the success we are trying to live by isn’t what God intends for our lives? Would it still be considered a “failure” if we looked at it from God’s perspective?
The key to acceptance is to realize that we are not failures, but we will sometimes fail. That’s ok. Not one of the celebrities, athletes, or even pastors we admire speed through life with nothing but green lights; it’s time to let that misconception go.
In your journal, write down a list of common “failure” thoughts you have. Write as many as you can think of. For each one, look through the “Affirmations” list and write down the scripture that coincides with it. You may want to highlight or re-write each one that applies to your situation on another page, and reference them when those thoughts cross your mind.
And we pull down reasonings and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)