Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Failing Again

I was talking with someone recently who has been struggling to get back into a relationship with God. They said they were going to try to start setting aside 10 minutes a day to just stop doing everything else and pray. I encouraged them in this but provided a caveat - don't worry about it if you can't make a full 10 minutes, or if you don't have much to say, or if you miss a day here and there. It's ok - God sees progress, and is happy to have it.

After about 5-6 days, I talked with this person again and said, how's it going? OK was the response. They had done well the first two days and then hadn't prayed at all for the last 3. This person was very bummed out about that and feelings of failure were evident just below the surface. I encouraged again - "God is not disappointed in you." "He's not?" was the answer through sniffles. This person, who was trying to do things for God, felt like a failure because they weren't able to be perfect in it and felt like they never would be able to. They thought God thought less of them for not being a "strong" Christian and not being able to do even this one task.

I explained it like this - God knows our hearts. He knows what your desire is - and it's to get closer to Him. How could that make Him upset? Wanting to do a prayer time and not making it happen isn't a sin. God doesn't look at us and focus on our failures, letting out a big sigh and saying "well, I guess you failed again didn't you?" NO! God's love and grace is boundless, and you trying to get in touch with Him but not doing it perfectly yet makes Him overjoyed that one of His children is trying to draw near to Him. We feel like such a failure sometimes, but God doesn't see us that way. Satan is the accuser. He's the one who says "you can't do it" "you're worthless" "you'll never get it right" "well, you screwed up again." These are not the words of God. The words of God are encouraging and loving - "keep it up" "try again" "I love your efforts" "I love you just the way you are and nothing you do or don't do will change that."

I am reading a book by Jud Wilhite right now called "Eyes Wide Open." This book addresses a lot of the same issues - living a life in full acceptance and realization of God's love and grace. So many people are living with this heavy weight on them, when they don't have to. If this is you, keep in perspective where negative influences come from - they don't come from God. He's happy with progress - He knows the motives of your heart. And NOTHING you do can change the way He feels about you. You are His child.

When I finish "Eyes Wide Open" I'll be publishing a review of it on my blog, so stay tuned for that. I encourage you to purchase this book and read it if this is an area you are struggling in. You're NOT a failure.

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