The Lie of Failure

Since dealing with intense dizziness for 15 days now, I have also dealt quite a bit with the lie of failure. There are so many ways that I have fallen short since falling ill. My heart breaks when I can’t ride the swings or the sea-saw with my three year old who doesn’t understand why mommy can’t play. Worse still is when I yell at my children, because my voice is the only recourse I have to protect them. This all came into crystal clarity this morning as Micah ran away from me on the way to the car to take Sophie to school. He bolted directly for the street, of course. I had no choice but to give chance because I could hear a car coming. I ran, the car slowed, and fortunately, Micah stopped at the edge of the sidewalk, just long enough for me to cover the distance and catch him. He laughed the whole way, infuriatingly, and the driver of the car was, fortunately, paying attention and gracious. Frustrated tears filled my eyes as I once again felt the intense weight of failure as a mom.

Right now, my identity is pretty much wrapped up in being a mom to my two kids, so if I fail as a mom, I fail altogether. It’s complete failure for me as a person. We all fail in various areas of our lives, and depending on how much we identify as that role, we will take the failure very hard and very personally. As mommies, we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves — feeling guilty for taking an hour to ourselves, leaving our kiddos in the care of another, or for doing housework while our kids play in the other room, or for finally losing our minds completely and yelling at our kids. We feel like we’re failing them, falling short of being who we think we need to be for them to be raised to be ideal adults, healthy and not dysfunctional. The expectations are high.

But today, God reminded me of something that he spoke to Matt Chandler in the Bible study we’re doing with our small group: “Aren’t you giving yourself a little bit too much credit?” How freeing were those words! How quickly we forget that God is truly in control. To realize that even if I fall short, even if Micah gets away from me and runs toward the street, God is not out of control. He can alert the driver to slow; he can stop my son, even if I am physically unable to move fast enough. More so, He can mold my kids’ hearts to be healthy and functional even if I’m too ill to ride the swings or I lose my temper and yell when I shouldn’t because I don’t feel good.

You see, I’m realizing that failure is a lie. Sin is a reality.  But failure, that label, is a lie. We all fall into sin every single day, but that does not exclude us from being a success in God’s eyes if our hearts are turned towards him and we are moving his direction. Yes, how my kids turn out can be a reflection of how I did as a parent. But it can also be the result of their own choices. I’m not letting myself off the hook entirely; I know I’ve got to find a way to cope with our new reality, to still give my kids all the love and nurturing that they need physically, spiritually, and emotionally. But it was so good to have a reminder today that we have a God of peace who is always in control even when our lives feel like they are spinning out of control. When we can barely steer our own emotional cart, let alone direct the development of two small children, he’s there. He’s in control. Do yourself a favor, and don’t give yourself too much credit today. Trust that God is directing the bigger picture, no matter how messy your corner of the painting looks right now.

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