Failure Mode

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Is this your address?  24 Failure Mode Lane.  Do you live here every day of your life – or even one day?  If so, if you are like me in this way, this post is for you (and me).

Most of my posts come out of my personal experiences and reflections on the gospel in light of those.  The past two weekends I have dwelt on Failure Mode Lane.  It seems like what I attempted I failed at and attitudes and right spirits just were not in me.  I failed in what I said, what I did, attitudes, etc.  Then, I would look at my poor sweet hubs and put my head on his chest, exhausted, crying, and I say, “I am such a failure.  I’m dwelling in failure mode.  Why can’t I do anything right?”

Eventually he would say to me, “You are about to get another word taken out of your vocab if you keep this up!”  What he meant was I say certain words right now that he won’t let me say because they are not the gospel truth in my life: words like fat and failure and opinionated.  These words don’t proclaim truth over my life and into my spirit.  One of the ways my sweet husband leads me so well is by preaching the gospel into my life.  Sometimes I get so discouraged in this time in our lives, marriage, and ministry that I can’t preach it to myself.  I’d rather stay in failure land.  He is there.  That is why God gave him to me.  He knew I would need someone to come alongside me and preach incredible words of grace to me.

I am writing this post tucked away in a mountain cabin for 5 days: reading, writing, resting.  This is what I read this morning from Loving the Little Years: “A way we can do damage to ourselves is through the use of totally innocent words that we use to allow ourselves something (like failure, fat, opinionated, etc).  Whatever terminology you use to allow yourself a little self-pity.  Actually I may be overwhelmed, but I may not say that I am overwhelmed.  The words have a real power over us.  If you say it, you allow it for yourself.” (pg 41)

A pastor’s wife friend of mine quoted her husband today by saying, “”Without Christ you will work even while you are resting, and with Christ you will rest even while you are working.”  You can listen to the sermon here.

So, what are your responses when you fail?

1.  Stop saying it.  When you fail at something, own it, then get over it.  Fix it, or let it go. 

2.  Get help.  Ask your husband or best friend or someone to hold you accountable.  I remember when I was little I would get my mouth washed out with soap if I sassed my Mom or said something I shouldn’t have said.  I need to think about that reaction everytime I say the word failure and fat (or fill in the blank with your nasty word you use).

3.  Preach the gospel to yourself.  You are not what you do. Your life is summed up by what Christ did for you on the cross.  If you are at a point in life when you can’t preach the gospel to yourself – have someone else preach it to you.

You will fail at dinner (maybe burn the biscuits or the cake falls or crumbles).  You will fail at loving your husband (you will use your mouth in a way that condemns him and puts him down instead of builds him up).  Your house will be messy at some point (I still didn’t get the bathroom cleaned before I left this weekend).  Its ok.  Life will go on.  Pray for grace to make it another day.  Your Christ is sufficient. 

As Paul claims in 2 Corinthians:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV)


  1. Eric

    Loved the quote about… w/o Christ you will work while resting… with Christ you may rest while working. Wow.