Failure is an Option
All too often, deep inside my soul, the fear of failure starts to rear its head. Genuinely paralyzing, it causes me to second guess everything. If the fear of failure threatens to immobilize your life, I dedicate this post to you.
It happened again. Another day passed and I didn’t make the cut; didn’t perform to my expectation; wasn’t good enough. I was tired… incredibly tired after working all day long and had nothing to show for it.
It would have been ok if this were an every-so-often kind of thing. I could forgive myself if I could name one thing that I was proud of today. But this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. In my head, I was supposed to be so much further along, so much better at this mom thing…. This life thing.
My New Normal
You see, this scene was all too common at the end of my day for the past year and a half. I adopted a baby in less than 7 weeks, found out I was pregnant, had a terribly difficult pregnancy, had an equally difficult delivery, and had been struggling with the transition to being a mom to 2 kids under the age of 1.
God’s hand had been so incredibly evident in every step of the way. I couldn’t question that He intended it to happen this way. There was no doubt that I loved being a mom. I just didn’t feel like a very good one.
Or wife for that matter. Each day my loving and supportive husband would come home to chaos where if we made it out of our pajamas by the evening, I was feeling pretty good! His once vivacious wife, now covered in spit up and pee with greasy hair and overly hormonal emotions, felt unrecognizable.
He’d innocently say, “So what did you do today?” and I’d want to claw his eyes out just for asking. Well, let’s see. I kept the kids alive, put a load of laundry in the washer two days ago and forgotten about it before rewashing it this morning (and haven’t thought about it since). You can’t tell, but I cleaned the kitchen and living room three times. I worked on church stuff during nap times but didn’t get done what I needed to do. Dinner wasn’t going to happen so I ordered pizza again from our non-existent budget that I was supposed to be managing but was currently, like everything else, completely out of control.
Not Living Up
I hated this. I was supposed to be better than this. And yet, here I was, fulfilling the prophecies.
So many people had told me how hard I was going to have it with two so close in age. With my prego belly being used as a shelf for my 6-month-old, people would shake their heads and say that I would “have my hands full” and that they didn’t know how I was going to do it. Guess what? I wasn’t. At least not well.
My greatest fear realized. I had failed. I had failed to live up.
But live up to what exactly? Failed who? Who else cared about my unvacuumed floors or if we ate PB and J for dinner? Who set the standards so high? And why was I exhausting myself trying to meet them?
The expectations were mine, not anyone else’s. I failed myself. And guess what? Nobody else cared.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Fear of failure drives so many of us and yet, we don’t seem to recognize that failure is often our greatest teacher… It’s when we see the clearest.
Failure is a perfectly reasonable option when we place upon ourselves a standard that is illogical and unnecessary. During this incredibly intense transition in my life, I forgot one key component. Grace. I didn’t give myself any grace. There was still so much I needed to learn and there was so much more I could be if I only gave myself the time to get there.
This realization was huge for me and, from that point on, it changed the way I approached my life… I changed my approach by:
- tossing the expectation of perfection
- setting very unimpressive but attainable goals
- practicing patience on myself
- giving myself permission to be imperfect
- learning through my failures
Failure is a very effective teacher and rather than beating myself up about it, I embraced it.
…was the best ever. Now, only a few short months later, I am so much happier and on the path to becoming the mom, the wife, the person I was trying to be… But I’m taking a very different path.
So, if you are where I was… Or if you’ve ever been there before… Please hear me loud and clear.
I give you permission to fail.
I allow you to be imperfect. In fact, I encourage it.
Not so that you can be reckless or lazy, but so you can learn the best lessons life has to offer. Let these experiences teach you and change you in ways that you can’t change yourself. Let the expectations go and let God show you who He created you to be.
You won’t be disappointed. I promise.
The only true failure is the failure to try. Do not fail to keep moving forward to find your God-given purpose.
In what ways have you failed recently? What lesson did it teach you? Share in the comments.