I see you. I see you with your head bowed, hands covering your eyes in shame. You didn’t meet your own expectations again, am I right? Whether you acted out and said/did something you shouldn’t or you didn’t check off every box on your to-do list, it doesn’t matter. Your perceived failure does not define you.
Listen, dear heart. You are not a failure. Even though in your own mind, you think you are unworthy, broken, and altogether an ugly mess, that doesn’t make it the truth. That doesn’t make it reality. Quit telling yourself lies! I have been where you are. And if I’m truly honest, I still visit sometimes. I understand that this is a hard battle to win. It’s a battle of the mind and the heart.
Just because you may have made a few wrong choices or you haven’t met your own standards for yourself, doesn’t make you less than or not enough.
I am absolutely terrible about setting the bar for myself so high that it’s impossible to reach. And then I get into a funk because I couldn’t do it all. Sound familiar? Please take my advice when I say, give yourself some grace. You wouldn’t put those same expectations on someone else, so why do you pressure yourself? When someone you know “fails” at something, do you berate them? Do you call them a failure? NO. So why do you call yourself one? I’m preaching to myself here.
How do you overcome? God. Is it a one-time-fix? No. Like forgiveness, you may have to remind yourself of the truth over and over and over again. But over time, it will be easier. Over time, you will have retrained your brain to think better thoughts about yourself. So let’s begin with a baby step.
If you’re reading this and you feel like a failure due to some poor choices you’ve made, cut yourself some slack. It’s in the past now, there’s no need to continue to dwell on it. It’s time to move forward. How? Let’s start by simply making good choices today. Think about your future. Where would you like to you see yourself and your spouse/fiance? What are some things you need to do to get there?
Don’t let your past mistakes define your future. Tomorrow is a new day. Take a deep breath, and give your best to the present. I encourage you to find a Godly mentor or counselor who can encourage you, give Godly advice, and help you work through your situation. Don’t underestimate the power of someone to pray with you!
If you’re more like me, and you’re guilty of setting too high expectations for yourself, these tips are for you. Brain dump everything you feel needs to get done onto a sheet of paper. Then I want you to go through that list crossing out anything you feel might be unrealistic due to time constraints. Come on, I know there are a few! Next, organize that list by priority. What has to be done today? What can wait a few days?
I like to move this breakdown into my day planner. I add the breakdown of tasks to different days of the week, taking into consideration my schedule/commitments as well. This gives me a better at a glance view of my week. Cross out or move any tasks that are low on the priority list and aren’t realistic to accomplish this week. Give yourself time to rest and don’t forget about penciling in time with God! That is a must. Every morning before I start (or look) at my work/to-do list, I’m cracking open my Bible and spending some fellowship time with Him.
This advice is for both sides of the fence. When you have a negative or degrading thought about yourself, stop. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10 to “[cast] down imaginations, and everything that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” (verse 5, KJV) Cast down that thought and think about how Christ sees you. He sees you redeemed, holy, worthy. Find some verses to have nearby to remind yourself of your identity in Christ when these moments come. Turn to them when ugly thoughts rear their head. With His help, I know you can do it.
This is not some “magic” fix. It will take work to rewire the way your brain thinks about you. But let me tell you, you’ll be happier if you take the harder path. Don’t continue to wallow in self-pity and shame. Walk boldly into the light that Christ has called you. Choose victory, because we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37, KJV. I highly encourage you to read the full passage to grasp the context!)
In closing, quit telling yourself that you’re a failure. I know it’s probably the third time I’ve said it, but that doesn’t make it less true. I fully acknowledge that I need to work on this myself. I’ve by no means fully attained victory, but I am fighting. You aren’t in this fight alone. I pray my words have helped you!