Thankful to be a failure

I feel like God is calling me to be thankful for something I never would have expected to be thankful for:  My failures.

Last night I’d had it with Carolyn.  She’d had a fabolous day really.  I’d had comments from several people about how well-behaved my kids were, but then came bedtime.  Her sister, who had stayed up and played late WITH her big sister the night before conked out immediately.  Carolyn stayed awake.  And played.  I caught her in her playroom, happy as a lark.  And I. Was. Mad.  It wasn’t that it had been building all day.  Before bed I’d spent some time building her up for how well she’d done the rest of the day.  It’s just that bedtimes are notoriously hard for us.  We’ve had several bad ones lately and I just was in no mood to tolerate it.

And I didn’t handle it well.  I reacted in anger.  I did all the things the parenting gurus and experts and expert Mamas that I see doing it right on the days I am getting it so freaking wrong tell you not to do.  

I felt so low…  To be honest, right now, I can give you a list a mile long of things that I feel like I screw up as a parent and as a person, and the list of things that I feel like I do right is non-existent.  Do I recognize the distortion here?  Yes.

But yesterday as I was trembling with frustration and feeling the desperation of having chosen wrong in the game of parenting, again, what I heard was this:

I’m supposed to feel like a failure. 

I’m in a season of striving for discipline.  I’m trying to commit and recommit (usually on an hourly basis) to eating in ways that are good for my body.  I’m running.  It’s been my hope all summer to get my house under control (that SO hasn’t happened).  I’m trying to be deliberate about setting time aside to be with God.  I have been trying so hard to do the RIGHT things in all the RIGHT ways in all the RIGHT places.  And I go to bed each night seeing two dozen ways in which I failed, and so very few ways in which I succeeded. 

And I caught a glimpse for a second of me trying to build a Tower of Babel.  Trying to do it all right so that I am acceptable to other people and especially to God.  I’m trying to build my way to heaven, trying to earn favor.

It doesn’t work that way. 

So I feel like God is telling me to be thankful for my failures.  Because they remind me that I *can’t* get it right on my own, and that I don’t need to.  I am His by virtue of what HE DID, not by virtue of what *I* can do.  Admittedly, I struggle with what it looks like to ’surrender’ to the work of the Holy Spirit in all of these venues that do legitimitely require an outward effort on my part.  I don’t think I know how not to strive.   How does one surrender and still act?  I don’t know.

At least I do know that I can be grateful for not getting it right all the time.  I can trust that God is enough when I am not.  I can believe that even though it sucks to feel like a failure, that God is teaching me good things in the midst of it.  And maybe eventually I’ll even learn to get myself out of the way enough to stop striving and simply surrender.

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3 thoughts on “Thankful to be a failure

  1. I have come from Holley’s blog. I meant to read the most recent post but was drawn to this one because I could have written in myself. I am a grandmother with an empty nest, but I still struggle in exactly the same way (not to say it will take you this long to get it right!). I want so much to please everyone else – especially the Father – and I am so good at tormenting myself with past and present failures. He has been saying the very same things to me. He is such a perfect Father 🙂

  2. I,too, came from Holley’s blog and meant to just check in on your thoughts of gratitude and guilt, but the word “failure” jumped out at me so I kept reading. I am so with you on this one!!! I look at my great goals and plans for myself, kids, house, projects, ministry and see very little in the way of success but lots of unfinished, half-way or not even close goals and dreams. I am trying so hard to be the best, perfect mom, wife, ministry leader, etc. – To do it all and all on my own-To not let everyone down and succeed at being the best- But I fail each and every day — I have lost the joy in most of my circumstances and am learning now that I need to have faith-trust in God to fill in the gaps where I can’t and to be intentional in enjoying -finding the joy in the people of my life not the activity- If I can trust God in all things and know that when I fail, He is there taking care of it all- He has proven this a lot recently.

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