I’m sitting in a high school classroom as I begin to type this. Being that it is exam week, I’ve heard a lot about failing – especially as the students get up to leave after taking their exam.
“I know I failed that,”
“I’m just praying for a D!”
Or worse yet, “Yep, I failed that, oh well.”
And I remember uttering these phrases myself amongst my peers after taking tests in high school. When anything was hard, or we felt uncertain, we were sure we failed. Rarely had we actually failed, even though we may not have done as well as we wanted to do, but we often left with the feeling as if we had.
I find myself still feeling this same way frequently. Like I’ve failed.
However, this time there is no teacher to grade my work. No chance for a do-over, and unlike a Math test in high school the stakes are much higher.
I’ve found it interesting since having my first child how much I’ve struggled with the fear that I’m failing. I certainly wasn’t expecting to struggle with feeling like a failure as a parent, since I have a background in Early Education and was a nanny for years. I “know” a lot about child development and teaching, yet I was (am) constantly fearful I was doing it all wrong, and failing.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
As I’ve talked to other moms, I’ve found this fear of failing to be pervasive. It goes hand in hand with a severe lack of confidence; not just in motherhood, but in a lot of areas of life.
I’ve thought many times that with all the hormonal changes that come with giving birth, confidence must be ones of those things we lose. But the more I sit in classrooms like today, the more I wonder if our societal’s lack of confidence has a deeper root.
The Bible tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking those he can devour, and that fear is a spirit that God has not given us (see 1 Peter 5:8 and 2 Timothy 1:7). I see this spirit of fear in so many of my sisters in Christ’s words and actions – it’s epidemic!
Fear and lack of confidence go hand-in-hand. They hold us back from trying and hold our minds, and at times even our bodies hostage from doing anything.
Worse yet, they often separate us from our loving Father God, as we struggle with fear of failing Him.
I’ve recently started reading The Wonder Weeks
book, which is the first parenting related book I’ve picked up in a while. Why? Because I hate the tone of most parenting books I’ve read that basically make it sound as if there is only one right way to do everything in parenting.
I even told Chris, my husband, that I was afraid to read this book and see how much I “failed” Naomi when she was going through the Wonder Weeks as a baby.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly how I’ve felt so far … like I failed.
However, as I stepped back from the book (which still has a ton of good information, despite my feelings), I determined to take the good information, use it to grow me and my skills moving forward, and leave my perception of failure behind me.
I also determined that I need to take a good long look at what God has to say in His Word about failure, and start living by the truth!
One of those I know off the top of my head, is that He has given me the Holy Spirit and that He can and will guide my life. If I’m following Him obediently – I can’t fail.
Even if the world, and I, think I am.