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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Successful, failure--or both?

In one of my classes yesterday we discussed success and failure: how we defined them, and how we reacted to them.
I said that success is learning from an experience even if it doesn't go the way I want it to.  When I am successful, I tend to pat myself on the back too much.  My response should be to glorify God in every success.
I define failure as not living up to my own (usually very high) expectations.  When I fail, I put myself down, taking failure very personally.  I look at myself as a failure instead of whatever I was trying to do.

I often feel like a failure when the kitchen is a complete mess for more than a few hours at a time.  When the bathroom is a disaster.  When laundry needs to get put away.  When the living room needs to be de-cluttered and cleaned.  Like tonight, basically.

Sometimes I feel like a failure when I don't get the grade I would have liked on a test, even though I know I didn't study as much as I could have (like yesterday).

When Joshua tries to do something for me, and I don't want him to, for money or time or whatever reason, I feel like a failure for not letting him show how he loves me because of my own selfishness.

These are just a few examples.  When a lot of these "failures" happen at the same time, I tend to get very frustrated with myself, feeling like I can't do anything right.

In a way, it's right for me to feel like that.  If the reason things aren't going the way I want is because I'm slacking on something (spending too much time writing blog posts instead of doing dishes, for example), then I am justified in being frustrated with myself.  There are things I could do better.

However, there are days when I've been too busy spending time with my husband to study for a test as much as I would like.  There are other days when I have a lot of homework to do that prevents me from doing housework.  I do fail sometimes, yes.  But what is important to remember is that
I am not a failure.

My problem is that I take things too personally.  Failing at something does not automatically make me a failure.

And let's look at my definitions of failure and success again.  When I fail, it means I haven't lived up to my own expectations.  But what if my expectations were unrealistic?  What if God had things in mind for me that weren't on my to-do list for the day?
My definition of success is learning from experiences even when they don't go my way.  In that case, every failure is a success because I can always learn something from a failure.

A "C" instead of an "A" on a test?  I need to start studying sooner next time.
Dishes piling up till they're overwhelming?  I need to shut down the computer half an hour sooner every night and get some housework done.
Living room constantly cluttered?  I need to put stuff away as I use it, not let things pile up.

I realize I'm being very law-focused here.  In this context, I'm okay with that.  But what I want to stress--to you and myself--is that not always doing everything perfectly does NOT make you a failure.

And, more importantly, God works through, despite, and in your failures.  His purposes are accomplished no matter what.  Sometimes--most of the time--God uses our failures for his purposes, to bless us and to bless others.

God doesn't define us by our failures.  He looks at us like he looks at his Son Jesus: Holy, pure, sinless.  We are forgiven of every failure, of every sin, of every shortcoming.

Don't let your failures own you.  See them as God's successes.  Remember that he doesn't define you by your failures, and he loves you unconditionally.

    And Picture Me {Im}Perfectly


  1. Oh Jaimie I am the SAME way!! I take things way to personally! I don't take that out on other people really but I just get so down on myself if I "fail". I totally do that especially with house work. My husband may not care that our kitchen is messy and I don't get to it the next day because it means I got to spend time with him but I feel like I failed him because the house is messy. For me it all comes down to PRIDE! Yep pride lol. Trying to work on that...Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend Jaimie!!

  2. thank you for linking up and for blessing all of us! xoxo.


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