Do you get caught up in your failures? Do you bend toward the areas of your life where you still struggle? Guess what?! Me too!!! It's so easy to feel like you have to be perfect; that you have to fix yourself instantly. I mean we are the culture of instant gratification, right? But that's not what God is asking from us. He's whispering softly to you today that you're not alone. That when you fall down, he's by your side to help you stand. He's asking for progress, not perfection. Let's leave that to Christ. Let's Get Tryin'.
External failure would be like when someone expects something from you, and you let them down. Internal failure is when you expect something from yourself, and you feel like you let yourself down.
Why does failure matter when it comes to progress? And why does failure matter when it comes to perfection? Perfection is our measuring stick. Everything we do in life, think about it. Everything we do in life, we measure it against perfection. The problem is perfection has no room for failure. So what you're trying to achieve is honestly unattainable. When our failure is measured up against progress, there is a big difference.
QUESTION: What is the thing that is pulling you back on a regular basis? What's the thing you feel like you just can't get consistent?
We have to ask ourselves in these moments of feeling unworthy, where's this coming from? Who is this coming from? Because the thing is, there are actual failures that we have in our lives. And we have to learn how to manage those failures. But then there's the things that we don't really fully have control over. And usually insecurity, those lies, start to tell us something about ourselves, which is not true when it comes to our worth.
16 Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher,[f] what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep[g] the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. 19 Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’[h]” 20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” 21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” - Matthew 19: 16-26
The important thing about failure is that we don't get up and turn back towards the way we came. But in turn, we get up, we dust off the shame. We dust off the guilt of our failure, and we keep moving toward Jesus. That's what progress is.
Three things we can do to embrace progress, and not perfection.
1. Know the Goal
If we're striving to be like Jesus then that's the goal. You may have a few sub-goals that you want to go along with that. For me it's vulnerability, authenticity and sacrificial living. Those are my sub goals. Without you knowing what you're trying to do, then you're only going to be wondering around in the desert of perfectionism.
Grab a piece of paper, open the notes app on your phone and start writing down your goals. Maybe for you, you need to work on speaking up with you feel hurt. Maybe for you, it's exercise and healthy eating. Maybe it's working on that addiction to online shopping or pornography. The important thing is to know the goal. Did you know that you're 42% more likely to complete your goals when you write them down? So don't wait, write them down, type them out and put them somewhere you will see them regularly.
2. Acknowledge and Confess Our Failures
I'm sure this one is super exciting to you. People love to admit their failures and confess them to people, but there is such health in getting those failures from dark to light. There's so much value in telling someone what happened and why you believe you made that choice. The acknowledgment of our failures make them less controlling. It keeps us from answering our own question of "Am I unworthy?"
Confession brings community around you when you feel weak. We need people to encourage and speak truth over our lives. Confession creates a powerful atmosphere of vulnerability that not only heals us from our failures, but also forges honesty, trust and authenticity into a relationship.
3. Get Back Up and Keep Trying
So by accepting and acknowledging that we've fallen down, then we know that we need to get back up. Some times the fall is harder and more damaging than another, but the most important thing we can do is to get back up and keep trying.
For us to keep trying then we have to keep our eyes on the goal. All of this creates a cycle of progress. Think about it, when you know the goal, when you acknowledge failure and get back up, you can refocus and set your eyes back on the goal.
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