Sometimes it is real, other times it's imagined, but the feeling of failure is acute. Disappointment in one's self is heart breaking and soul damaging. Paralyzing to the very core.
But as the saying goes, failure is not fatal. Nor is it defining.
You are not a failure.
You're an overcomer.
No matter how many times you have missed the mark, or how great the fall, failure is not your destination. So pick yourself up and let these thoughts from Scripture get you back on course.
1. It happens to us all
Proverbs 24:16a The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.
Perfection would be nice, but it won't happen this side of heaven. The godly trip. No one is immune to failure. Whether you tripped up 7 times or 77, shake it off and get up again.
2. The Lord holds your hand
Psalm 37:23-24 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Deep in the depths of failure and self-loathing, it can be difficult to understand the heart of God. Why would He love me when I messed up so bad? When you fail, not only does God love you, but He loves you enough to hold your hand. Others may desert and disown you, but Jesus is by your side holding your hand. He is not embarrassed by your mess.
3. The answer is Jesus
Romans 7:15, 24-25a I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate... Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
You promised yourself you wouldn't lose your temper. You vowed to never smoke again. But in the heat of the moment, you gave in and did the very thing you hate.
Who will free you from sin and failure? Jesus. In whose strength will you overcome? Jesus. No matter how epic the fail, the answer is Jesus.
4. You are forgiven
1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Your failure is forgiven, covered by the Blood of the Lamb. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. All that is left to do is forgive yourself.
5. There is no condemnation
Romans 8:1-2 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Where there are thoughts of failure, condemnation is not far behind. You are not condemned because you belong to Christ. Stop analysing and dwelling on your shortcoming. The life-giving Spirit has freed you from thoughts of defeat.
6. His grace is all you need
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God's grace is all you need. Grace to cover your wrong, but also grace to overcome weakness and move forward in victory. His grace is there when you fall, but it is also turns weakness into strength.
7. The Lord is your strength
Psalm 73:26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
Your health may fail, your mind may wander, your spirit may be fragile, but the Lord is your strength - and that makes all the difference. Lean into Him and be reinvigorated with strength for your greatest weakness.
8. There is fresh mercy
Lamentations 3:22-23 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
As your own harshest critic, you tend to give yourself very little mercy, am I right? But the faithful love of God is bigger than your mistake. His mercy has no end. It is available fresh each day. If you find yourself waking to thoughts of failure and frustration, take some of that sweet mercy, and face the day focused on His faithfulness.
9. Forget the past
Philippians 3:13-14 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
If the megastars of the Bible had not achieved it, why put such high expectations on yourself? The lesson to learn from greats like Paul is captured here: forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead. So take Paul's advice and do this one thing: stop reliving the past. It's over. Press on. Push against the resistance. Jesus is calling you onward.
Don't let failure be the final word in your story.