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  • Betsy James

The Upside to Failing At Everything


Have you ever had one of those days/weeks/months where you wake up and feel like you are failing at everything that matters? Like all the things you used to have a handle on are now handling you and it’s not pretty? Me too. It’s not fun…but so far I have found one perk: the painful but precious gift of humility.

Today, upon waking, I sat up in bed and bowed over whispering a one word prayer: “Lord.”

I didn’t plan to pray just one word, but saying it (and meaning it) stopped me in my tracks. In declaring that God is my Lord I was also admitting that I am not. I am not lord. I am NOT lord but lately I have been trying on that role. Maybe God’s ways aren’t best…maybe my ways are. Maybe Jesus is not the only way to abundant life…maybe that shiny apple will do the trick…

When I was toying with disobedience (in both big and small ways…if that matters) I would still try to pray but I could never bring myself to address God as “Lord”. My conscience wouldn’t allow me to rebel and then turn around and use that title. “He’s either Lord or He isn’t” the voice in my head would say… “And if He’s Lord then you better do what He says.”

But I wasn’t ready to obey so instead I called God, “Elohim” – Creator. If my heart wouldn’t submit to Him as Lord, at least my mind could submit that He was my Maker. But then Psalm 100 would pop into my mind – “It is He who made us and we ARE HIS.” So it would seem there is no escaping the Hound of Heaven…and for this I am eternally grateful!

Because the Lord is kind and merciful and patient, I have repented and am back in fellowship with my Maker, and this morning it felt good to bend my body and my spirit and whisper, “Lord”. I liked how my muscles stretched down the back of my neck as my chin rested on my chest – all at once uncomfortable and familiar and right.

All the things of consequence in my life are too heavy for me to carry. I see this now. I see that anything good in me – anything excellent or praiseworthy is simply the evidence of God’s Spirit who is at work within me. In my own strength and wisdom I will fail spectacularly but the Bible teaches that when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:10) because as I decrease, Christ’s power and presence in and through me will increase. (John 3:30) This is good news. Very good news.

Friend, have you ever had one of those days/weeks/months where you wake up and feel like you are failing at everything that matters? Let the weight of those failures bend you over – body, soul, and mind – in humble submission to your Father and Lord who is ready and willing to lift you up.

Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.

James 4:10


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