Photo from: www.tanveernaseer.com
It feels awful, doesn’t it? You feel like a failure. Despite your every effort, you’re not enough for him. You can’t seem to get this wife thing right.
Whether you’re just being there for him, making plans together, or doing something nice, it just seems like you’re a failure at loving him well. At being what he needs or improving his life.
Add in your failures as a parent, as a friend, as a writer, a student, or whatever it is that you do. Plus the ways you haven’t been so Christian…
The truth –and you know it- is that you haven’t really failed. Everyone’s fed, everyone’s loved, Jesus has still saved you, and the world isn’t falling apart. But you still feel like you stink at life.
You’ve Defined Success Incorrectly
The opposite of success, your definition of failure is based on what you’re trying to accomplish. For so many of us, feelings of inadequacy take over simply because we’re aiming for the wrong things.
At the end of the day, what is it that you hope you accomplished? For so many of us, the goal is to make others happy, to achieve certain tasks, or to gain something we desire. A successful day is one in which we felt good and got stuff done.
But what does that ultimately matter?
As the Psalmist prays:
“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” –Psalm 119:37
Success is about glorifying our Lord and living according to His Word. Sometimes that means a successful day is one in which you upset someone with the truth, or stood by your convictions at all costs. Often a successful day is a messy bunch of hours filled with moments of mistakes and less-than-glamorous tasks…but it’s one in which you looked to the Lord, relied on Him, obeyed, and prayed.
We’re all quite occupied with getting as far as we can in life socially, financially, and otherwise…but in the end we all go to heaven or hell. That’s as far as anyone gets.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus…Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” –Philippians 3:14-16
You’re attributing to yourself what isn’t up to you.
Another sure sign you’re feeling like a failure when you aren’t is because you’re acting (or believing) that you have more control than you do. Some things can’t possibly be your fault –like someone else’s reaction, or changes in circumstances.
Misinterpreting others’ natural feelings, troubles, and un-pleasantries as your responsibility means you’re taking on what’s only the Lords! My wise husband has gently reminded me: “never try to do for the Lord what is only the Lord’s to do.”
There are some things you can’t fix. Some things you aren’t able to make better. Some pain, suffering, and mistakes that the Lord has plans for –and His plans don’t involve using you as the solution. When you make unattainable goals priorities, you’ll feel like a failure naturally.
So what can you do? You can pray. True love often means turning people over to the truest, more loving…
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” –Philippians 4:6
Someone Other than The Lord is Deciding.
One of the most crucial keys to Christ’s success in saving the world (which, He finished!) was seeking to please only His master. Over and over, men were not pleased with His actions. The Jews, for example, generally rejected Him as Messiah because He didn’t measure up to their expectations. That didn’t change His course or affect what Christ knew to be His success.
We’re exhorted to follow in the same way:
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” –Galatians 1:10
That remains the case whether anyone is watching or not. Nobody needs to be “well-pleased” with you other than the Lord.
If you look for other’s approval to make you feel successful, you’ll constantly find that you insufficient, that others always demand more, and that satisfaction is fleeting. Even when it comes to pleasing your husband or another loved one. Because they’re human, too, and not qualified to judge you heart.
The Lord, however…
As Psalm 73:26 reminds us:
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Rely on Him. He doesn’t fail. His judgement is righteous, His grace complete, and His perfect plans…well, they always succeed.