Saturday, March 10, 2012
Read this when you feel you cannot go on.
"Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place."
-- the Red Queen, Alice Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll (emphasis original)
I currently have a sense of failure regarding almost everything in my life-- mothering, teaching, planning, housework, church member-ing, music, personal relationships, community. I realize that, comparatively, I am not a failure at any of these things. Nonetheless, I just cannot do things the way they should be done. I miss the mark. I am WAY off in some cases. I could do so much better and why do I not?
(Yes, I am a perfectionist. Yes, I understand that what I do is probably "good enough", whatever that means. I am not asking for validation as a "good" or successful person, although I appreciate the compassionate hearts that wish to offer it.)
Last night I was tired. I had kept busy with necessary activity from sunrise to sunset. Still I carried this sense of failure. I was tired of willing and tired of running. I sat down to do nothing for awhile. It did not help.
I got into bed. I fell asleep. I awakened with the same sense of sinking dread.
Did I reach for my Bible? Did I pray? No. Well, I did do a bit of desultory praying. You know, "Lord, what is this? Please deliver me!" while catching up on email and FB status updates.
So far this is not an encouraging post. Why the title?
I used to let myself sit in this position for weeks and weeks. I would even allow myself to quit things, to retreat into my turtle-shell and let relationships lapse, because of this feeling. I am finally beginning to realize this is not what I am called to do as a child of the King.
Of course I miss the mark. Duh. I am a sinner. I am going to fail, one way or another, my whole life. I am not okay with this, and I do not think God wants us to go through life saying, "That's just the way I am." HOWEVER, I also do not think he appreciates me sitting down on my stool of do-nothing because I have not the strength and courage to continue in the face of failure.
In the face of failure, it is my duty to resist retreat and recall myself to God. If I feel like this, I am trying to do well on my own strength! Oh person-that-is-a-sinner, who is he that has called you to himself? How does he love you? And why do you neglect him?
The birds implored Peter Rabbit to exert himself when he was caught in the barbed-wire of Mr. MacGregor's garden. Like Peter, I must labor to enter into rest. This post is to remind me to seek God when I feel I cannot go on. Of course I cannot do whatever-it-is without him.
And guess what? He counts my faith as righteousness! My faith. Not my good deeds. Not my successes. My doing-the-next-thing-with-God. I can go on, knowing I have missed the mark (and will in the future) because, whatever happens, God is with me. God is a wise parent, and when I fail, he upholds me with his hand and urges me to go on, knowing he sanctifies and preserves me. He is faithful and will do it.
If you are reading this, you have permission to remind me of this truth whenever you think I need it. And I need it a LOT.