I get why people are tempted to downplay failure. It’s a huge threat to our self-worth.
The mistake is, we measure our worth on “the barometer of success and failure.”
More successes = I’m worth more.
More failures = I’m worth less.
The result is a dizzying life of trying to magnify successes and minimize failures in order to keep your self-worth stable. It’s a cruel ride that many are stuck on.
As long as our self-worth is measured on the barometer of success and failure we will not deal honestly with failure…
But it gets worse.
If we can’t deal honestly with failure; we will miss a deeper life of freedom that is available to us all — and as odd as it sounds, admitting our failures will actually help us find freedom from the barometer of success and failure.
The “secret mystery” of admitting failure is that it’s the doorway to discovery GRACE.
Currently you may be stuck measuring your worth on the barometer of success and failure — it’s hard for you to imagine anything different and therefore the idea of “admitting failures” is frightening because to do so is to be “taken down a peg”.
It is in the face of this lie that binds so many that GRACE calls out to us.
But the mystery is that the voice of grace is only truly “heard” by those who know they fail. This is why Jesus so often called out “Let the one who has ears to hear, hear!”
Jesus’ words of grace were words of rescue, redemption and renewal for those who saw themselves as failing human beings. But did you ever notice that those SAME WORDS OF GRACE were taken as BLASPHEMY by those who saw themselves as successful? Again Jesus clearly said, “It’s for the sick, it’s for the sinners…it’s for the failing…that I have come…the healthy have no need of a doctor.”
But that’s the tragic tale of the story of grace — there are no “healthy humans” (even if some work hard at deceiving themselves and others that they are all good)
We are all sick … we’ve all failed … we are all in need — but if we will not honestly admit the need we will never truly “hear” the words of grace. The words of grace will be distant echoes; good for others we might tell ourselves, but I don’t really need it — I just need my successes (good) to outweigh my failures (bad).
But those who can honestly call failure for what it is — who can see sin for what it is, will hear the the words of grace resonating deep within their souls. As sin and failure is laid bare in the onrushing path of grace something mysterious happens.
GRACE DESTROYS THE BAROMETER OF SUCCESS AND FAILURE.
MORE THAN THAT — GRACE UNCOVERS WHAT IS TRUE ABOUT YOU: YOU ARE BELOVED.
Not because your successes outweighs your failures — but because your worth is rooted in a Love that is bigger than your failures. A Love that has never stopped loving you — in your successes and in your failures — that Love never changed.
Grace creates a new barometer of self-worth — one that is immune to the changing circumstances of our successes and failures.
This is the “mystery of the gospel” — that Christ comes and dwells in us even as we continue to be a people riddled with failures. We are made saints, even while we continue to sin. Who we really are is who He is in us…
But the work of Grace doesn’t stop, nor is it just a facade that pretends our failings aren’t real. Through grace, our failings can actually be used to shape a deeper experience, and bring about actual change that produces holy character within us. Freedom is not just a label, but a growing experience and reality of Christ in us. But the experience of this freedom is one that relies on admitting our failures while counting on Grace to continue to work.
So admit your failings. It’s ok. Your worth is not rooted in success or failures. And in so doing, tune your ear to the call of grace…If something is resonating in you and you want to talk more, and need help unpack the next step for you personally I would love to help in any way that I can! Leave a comment here or send me a personal message.
If you want to continue with me on the journey of this growing reality of grace in the midst of my wandering life please join us on facebook at the Wandering Travelers.
Thanks for reading!
Your Wandering Guide,