"...though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again..." Proverbs 24:16a, (NIV)
I've always admired people who aren't afraid to fail. You know the ones who don't even consider defeat when they blow it; people who see a personal setback as just another goal to conquer.
I'm not always so courageous. In fact, I can be really hard on myself when I fail, and it doesn't even have to be a biggie. You see, I have what I call a "meanie in me" who replays my mistakes over and over, reminding me of how badly I've disappointed someone, or how impatient I was with my husband, or how harsh I was with my kids, or all sorts of ways that I fell short that day.
But the greatest defeat comes when I allow a mistake, a bad decision, sin, or a broken relationship to convince me that I might as well give up. Perhaps you have also allowed failure to knock you down, tie you up with the ropes of regret and hold you hostage like I have.
When I surveyed over 1200 women for my upcoming book, A Confident Heart, I discovered that our past failures, and our fear of failing again, are two of the biggest triggers that make us doubt ourselves.
Today's key verse, Proverbs 24:16, has helped me release the regret, guilt, fear and shame that have weighed me down and held me back. Take a minute to read it now and notice how it says the righteous will fall. That is right. Even those of us who have received the gift of Christ's righteousness and redemption will fall down. But we were never intended to stay down.
Instead of giving up Jesus empowers us to get up again.
In getting up, we can apologize and ask for forgiveness. In getting up, we can choose to try again with our kids, in our jobs, in our ministries, in our marriages, and in all of our mistakes. Because we trust that although we fall, God will help us up. Listen to His promise in Psalm 37:23-24 and as you read it insert your name in the blanks: "The steps of ____________ are established by the Lord, and He delights in ____________ way. When ____________ falls, __________ will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds ________ hand." (NASB)
When we get up again failure can actually help us become the confident women God created us to be because it makes us stronger and better — when we go to God for help. Failure can stretch us to do more than we think we can and push us to try other methods of doing things when one way doesn't work.
Yes, failure can be hurtful but it can also be beneficial. Failure produces wisdom when we ask for it and maturity when we learn from it.
The truth is, following Jesus is not about avoiding failures and being perfect. It's about accepting our weaknesses and becoming more dependent on God's perfect love and power at work in us. So the next time you fail to be the woman He calls you to be, or the woman you expect yourself to be, ask God to remind you of this truth.
We will sometimes fail to be who we want to be but we will get closer to who we are meant to be every time we fall and then choose to take God's hand so we can get up again!
Lord, I'm so thankful for Your grace that reminds me there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Because my steps are established by You, Lord, I will believe that You delight in me even when I fail or fall. Today, I want to take Your hand and trust Your heart as You pull me back up again and use my failures to help me become the confident woman You created me to be. In Jesus' Name, amen.© 2011 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved