You Can Stop Feeling Like a Failure Now

If you woke up to a stack of crusty dishes piled up in the sink, you are not a failure.

If you forgot to put the laundry in the dryer and the clothes all got sour in the washer, you are not a failure.

If your kids threw a fit at the store, refusing to obey you, you are not a failure.

If you said something stupid, hurt someone’s feelings, forgot an important commitment, burned dinner, broke a special plate, spilled an entire bottle of something expensive, lost your phone, or overslept, you are not a failure.  You are normal though, so hi!  Welcome to the club.

It’s too easy for us to look at what we did or did not do, how our kids did or did not act, and what did or did not happen - letting each act and experience define our success or failure.

Why is this?  Is it possible that somehow, even though we all know it isn’t true, we all think that we (and everyone around us) should be perfect?  Even if we may not consider ourselves to be perfectionists, deep down, we still want life to be perfect.  We don’t want anything to go wrong, to annoy us, or to be inconvenient.  We want our spouse, our kids, our friends, our homes, our jobs, our health, and every single person we deal with to be perfect.  When they aren’t – yes that’s when, not if – when they aren’t, we feel as if we’ve failed or as if other people have failed us.

Stop it.

Stop Feeling Like a Failure

The truth is, we will never, ever in this fallen world achieve or experience anything close to perfection.  There is much good in the world, because God is everywhere around us, showing us His goodness.  But there’s also a lot of yuck in the world because Satan wants to win our hearts.  He enjoys watching our discouragement and bitterness.  He loves it when he can take our focus off God and turn us inward, making us focus on our supposed failures.  Ah yes, if Satan can keep our minds thinking selfishly, he wins.  That’s his goal.

But guess what?  This desire for perfection we all feel so strongly?  That is God given.  God wants us to seek to find that which is perfect.  Why?  Why would He give us that desire when clearly there is no way we can achieve perfection on this earth?  He gives us this desire because He is perfection and He wants us to seek Him.  Jesus.  Jesus is perfection.  That’s really what we should be looking for.

Keep lovingly taking care of your family and home.  Keep yearning to be more Christ-like.  But let go of the guilt that comes through your lack of perfection and supposed failure.  Focus on Jesus, the One who fulfills that need for perfection we all long for.

Crusty dishes in the sink?  Yep, there they are.  Gonna be late to an appointment?  Sometimes, sure enough.  People getting in your way and causing you trouble?  Well, of course.

This earth is only temporary.  This isn’t it, people.  Perfection?  It’s coming!  I can’t wait.

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Comments

  1. Lana says

    This is something that I have remind myself of often now that I have all adult children. It can be very hard to watch them make bad choices and not feel like I had something to do with it. You have to have adult children to understand this. And yes, they were all home schooled all the way through and were always in church, etc.

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, as I’m in the midst of raising teens, I’m recognizing this more and more. Jesus has to be their savior, not me. The older they get, they make more and more choices and it is up to them to choose right. Blessings to you. :)

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  2. Vickie says

    I really, really needed to see this today. I don’t have the dirty dishes (because we ate out last night, failed at cooking), I have laundry in the washer that needs re-washing, I sent my preschooler without her hair combed (yikes), etc. I love how you explained why we strive for perfection. My desire is to be like Him. Thank you for the reminder.

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  3. says

    THANK YOU for that post. I, just yesterday, was telling my sweet, understanding husband what a failure I feel like. Each day it feels like something is going wrong, and though most things are going right, I still focus on the one thing that went wrong. :( It is reassuring and good for the soul to know that others out there are going through the same things– dishes piled up, laundry backed up, people causing mischief, kids disobeying, and on and on. It makes me feel normal. :-)

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  4. Mary says

    This reminds me of one of my favorite verses. 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

    God uses imperfect people to do His perfect work.

    God bless you Laura!

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  5. says

    This was a beautifully written post! It seems we are thinking about the same thing these days, as I wrote about this recently (http://wp.me/p4viGJ-mX). I am so thankful we can encourage one another in this area, as it is so important that we offer each other, and often ourselves, grace. I cannot wait for what is coming either! Such hope we have in Him! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  6. says

    Thank you for speaking Grace to my heart today…when the kids are on screen timeout (presumably for the rest of their lives if the day keeps at its current pace), the free tire rotation cost $75 because I let it go waaaaaay too long and there was damage, when I finally found the library book it was a week late, the dog hates me and pees in the house, the laundry is piled in a mountain both on the couch and in front of the washer, the dishes are piled in and around the sink, and the den is still in chaos from our well-meaning home-improvement project this weekend. I think I need to regroup, put everyone down for a nap (yes, even the 8 year old!), and read my Bible. Just thinking of that plan gives me a measure of peace. Thank you, friend.

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  7. says

    Amen! I’ve been grappling with my desire for perfection (or at least perceived perfection) for the last few months. I appreciate the way you put things in perspective. *Hugs*

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  8. Serenity says

    This was beautiful:). Maybe it should be labeled ” will all the real moms stand up, part 2″ :). I read that one every few months when I feel like I am the only one drowning on occasion. This will absolutely be a re-read for me. Thank you, Laura:)

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  9. says

    Great post thank you! Just today I called preschool because I was putting the get acquainted date in and called to let.them know Thursday Sept 4 was incorrect. Sept 4 was a Friday…no I was looking in 2015…felt so stupid that I should have checked twice before calling and beat myself up for a but…I am not a failure! Thanks Laura

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  10. Liz says

    Thank you for this much needed post!! After adding baby #3 to our family in February life has been super busy! ! Dishes pile up worse than ever, clothes are everywhere, bathrooms need cleaning, my protective dust on furniture gets thicker, late to at least one appt a week now, cry to my husband with tears of failure… seems nothing is normal anymore. But as I sit and nurse my newborn and try to multi task by catching up on email and texts and devotions like yours God shows me this IS normal and perfection is not- except for God himself! Thank you for the reminder of where my focus should be and who I am… a woman, wife and mother doing her best to please the Lord.

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