“It is high time for the church to remind our broken and burned out world that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a one-way declaration that because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak; because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose; because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail.” ~ Tullian Tchividjian
Free to fail, what a thought! I grew up very insecure and felt very much like a failure. I failed again and again at life, at relationships, at about everything I tried, but then I became a Christian. Lying on my bed one night, I prayed “God I hurt, I can’t take it anymore, I just don’t want to feel anymore – I want to die, I don’t want to go to heaven, I don’t want to go to hell, I want to just not exist. Please help me, I know this is wrong.” and then I cried myself to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I turned over in bed and looked out of the window and saw it was a new day… A new day… and I had hope. I hadn’t known hope in a long time, but I woke up with it that morning and my life was changed. God did it; He gave me a gift, the gift of hope! What joy I felt.
Years have gone by and life has failed me, people have failed me and I have failed them. I know failure and have come through it, but I still fear it. The fear of it paralyzes me at time. I’m not free to speak, to act, to write because I fear failure. Not only do I fear failure, I fear being rejected, being mocked, being hurt and those fears paralyze me. I become like the man who hid his talent, buried it in the ground, because he knew that if he lost it… so he just buried it. That’s me; time after time I bury myself. I actually picture it – when I’m afraid, when I feel I’ve let people down, when I let myself down, I picture myself crawling into a big hole in my backyard and burying myself.
I read an article recently about letting your children fail and I realize how my fears have affected them – I don’t want to fail, I don’t want them to fail, so I protect them, I shelter them. I don’t want them to know the hurt, the pain I’ve known, I want them to be happy and to succeed. I want it for them. But you know, I also want it for me. When they fail, I feel like I’ve done something wrong, I’ve let them down, I didn’t say the right thing, I didn’t respond in the right way and I realize I expect perfection. Not just from them, but from myself. What a burden I have put on, not only myself, but my family. I pray that they will forgive me and that I will forgive myself.
But then I look away from myself and I am reminded that God loves me and I love my children. When they fail, or when they fail my expectations, I don’t stop loving them, I don’t see them as failures, I see them as my children whom I love dearly. It’s not about what they do or don’t do, it’s about them – it’s about love.
By Tami Munden