Have you experienced a time in your life when failure creeps in?
Such has been how I have felt the past couple of months. Trying to heed the advice I often give to others: "Lead from your scars, not your wounds" (Thanks Nadi Bolz Webber). I haven't written about it here.
My blog is primarily pastoral not-self confessional. I'm not a fan of public over sharing. I say that's what coffee dates with friends are for! BUT, something in me has tugged toward writing about failure today. Maybe someone needs to hear it?
Today is not the first time I've shared about failure. Through the time I've been blogging, I've written about my own struggles with depression, infertility, and even marriage. A theme of my writing for sure is what it means to find faith in the dark night of the soul. Some of you have told me I've been a healing companion for you on your journey. For this I am more grateful than you know.
Yet, here I am again. Even if you know that joy has seasons and failure is just a part of life. It still can feel rotten to feel stuck.
In my case, it seems everyone around me is running faster and jumping higher. And I'm behind them all just falling on my face.
And, why you wonder?
I've felt like a failure because my memoir, Birthed hasn't had the success I would have liked for a multitude of reasons most notably because there still isn't market demand for infertility stories. It's so hard to beg people to care about what they don't want to talk about.
I've felt like a failure in my friendships. As much as I try to value people and make time for others, human relationships are messy. Most of us simply do what we want to do. Often this means hurting others (even if we're making the best choices for ourselves). It has just been a season where I feel I've drawn the short end of the stick more than my confidence can handle.
I've felt like a failure in my time management. I've overcommitted myself to projects I can't complete. And sometimes there are no quick fixes for these poor choices. It just is what it is and we can't rest until everything is finished.
And I've felt like a failure because can't seem to find the advocates I need for the orphan care and the work I'm doing over at Our Courageous Kids. My motivation skills seem to have lost their touch.
Even if you want to rise above failure, it can feel like an endless cycle. The more you feel it, the worst it gets. (For all of you Enneagram buffs can you tell I'm a 3?).
So how can you move forward with a mess of failure all around?
For now, this is what I know: grace is the thing that keeps me going.
Grace tells me that my poor choices (or that of others) aren't the end of the story. Grace reminds me that broken relationships will find redemption somehow. Grace offers that unexpected gifts are waiting for me when I least expect it.
And then practically, I can offer grace back to myself. Saying, "It's ok that I can't be this or that right now." Or giving myself permission to sit on the couch if it is the one thing that makes me feel better. Or even something extreme like flying across the country to see people I love (which I did last week!).
My life has purpose and meaning even if it doesn't feel like I'm living into my potential right now. The words of Lamentations 3: 22-23 ring in my ears:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
This "failure season" of mine will indeed pass. And yours will too.