It’s only halfway through the first month of the New Year, and failure has already begun to overtake you.
You’re standing at the sink and your teenage son slams the door and screams, “It’s stupid!”
It really is stupid. It’s stupid I can’t get this parenting thing right.
Two weeks into the New Year and I already feel a sense of failure. Missed two days at the gym this week. Drank three cups of coffee yesterday and only 8 ounces of water…what good is that? Grabbed a handful of chocolate chips out of the cabinet right before bed. Oh! And skipped a day of my Bible reading.
It’s there at the kitchen sink I remember, “A life set to grace, is a life set to rest.”
The Word hits my spirit, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6, ESV.
Greater grace is released when we express our desperate need for him.
When we feel like failures…I think it’s good. It means we’re not numb, calloused, and hard. We’re willing to abandon our self-will and rely totally on Holy Spirit.
David Benner in Surrender to Love says, “Relying on the will to make things happen keeps us focused on the self. Life lived with resolve and determination is life lived apart from surrender. It is living with clenched-fisted doggedness.”
Failure allows us to see our need for God.
The sun went down, and I laid with the son who slammed the door. He’s leaned up against me, and he murmurs, “I’m sorry. Why do I continue to struggle with the same thing?”
“It’s not how many times you trip and fall; it’s that you get back up that matters.”
I lifted his head to see his eyes, “You’re chosen and set apart for a purpose, and the enemy knows that more than you do.”
His mother needs this reminder too. That’s when I know God is doing work not only in his heart but also in mine.
Right there in my daily scripture reading Isaac repeats the sin of his father, Abraham. He lies and says his wife Rebekah is his sister. Lying always seems easier than telling the truth, until you get caught. Fear overtook Isaac, and he felt he had no choice except to say his wife was his sister. God in his great mercy allowed Isaac to get trapped in his sin, and the king of the Philistines ordered for Isaac and his family to leave the country.
The world would have labeled Isaac a failure, and I am sure Isaac may have thought he messed it all up too. Didn’t he have the same promise as his father, that he would inherit many nations? I wonder if Isaac for a split second thought, “I blew it. I will never inherit the promise.”
I know that same thought has crossed my mind a million times, “Will I ever see the fulfillment of the promises over my life? If only I could get it right.”
Guess what? We don’t have to live a perfect life because Jesus already did. Our job after we blow it is to get up and lean on Holy Spirit to get it right next time.
We’re a mess without him. In him we are righteous, chosen, and set apart for a purpose.
Jesus invites us to come to him and release all control over to him. Allowing him to take our mess and make it holy.
Maybe 2017 isn’t about getting it right, making resolutions, or overhauling your entire life; perhaps it’s about turning toward Jesus in the heart of repentance because this is the only real possibility of ever getting it right.
I turn the pages of my new crisp Bible and there it is, the promise God spoke over Isaac after his so-called failure.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you” Genesis 26:24, NLT.
“Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the Lord,” Genesis 26:25.
Right there in the mess of my kitchen, the sink of dirty dishes becomes my altar, and I worship God. I give thanks as He swallows my failure in his never-ending grace.
Be encouraged, my friend that God has promised He will never leave us and his blessings flow in spite of our failures.
Embrace where you are.
Let go of the guilt and shame; it’s not from God.
Allow Him to cover you with his grace.
Meditate on His promises.
You already possess what you need to make 2017 a great year.
Build an altar and trust God with your failures.
And when you do fail, remember your failures don’t define you, He does.
Tomorrow, we will walk in grace and not grab the chocolate chips out of the cabinet.
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