When You Feel Like a Failure

photo credit: Cloud Over Her Head via photopin (license)
photo credit: Cloud Over Her Head via photopin (license)

Nothing is more beautiful than a strong, humble, God-fearing woman who knows who she is and Whose she is. ~Susie Larson

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

Psalm 37: 23-24

It was a blue sky, sunshine morning but before my eyes confirmed this reality, I sensed a heaviness in my heart. It was as if the devil camped at the foot of my bed all night waiting to pounce on me before I stepped foot out of bed. Even as I tried to shake off the negative vibe, I felt like reminders of my lack peered back at me at every turn. The message in my mind was loud and clear, flashing repeatedly in neon, “Failure”.

Weakened, I repeatedly asked God to strengthen me, recognizing the wiles of the enemy, but not prepared for this particular early morning attack. As one who loves to rise early, and does so quite happily, the “surprise” attack should not really have surprised me, but honestly it did. I write this after the fact which gives evidence to the cunning ways of the Thief of our days.

Failure was the one word that cornered me that day and I was bullied into believing the one-sided, onslaught of accusations. I sat and agreed with Every. Single. Accusation.

It was as if the devil had a party for me gathering together from my memory every single enemy, former friend, failed relationship, encouraging them to open fire on my heart, mind and soul. Worse, I agreed and joined in the celebration. As a matter of fact, I got so busy agreeing with the searing conversation roasting myself along with the guests, I forgot WHO was in my corner.

Failure…I pondered it all. I have failed, as a daughter, disciple, mother, wife, friend, and citizen; as a Human Being, Sunday School Teacher (the audacity!), writer, student, employee and boss. The list could go on and indeed does. My heart grew heavy with the weight of it.

As I huddled alone in my corner, ashamed and loathing myself, the biggest lie of all crawled ever so close…”God cannot use you, you are worthless, just look at you! You have failed repeatedly and certainly you should not venture to try anything else or speak His name. At all. For certainly you will FAIL again.”

Yes, I have heard the serpent’s accusations. I have even agreed, but the reality is and this is the turning point friends…the only truth I live to tell:

I have failed many times, but God has not failed me. Not once.

My One Word IS Redeemed. I am redeemed. That is my testimony and treasure. My tale and my truth.

Though I fail, fall short and potentially might fail again, my God will keep me, lift me and raise me victoriously in Christ who is my Victory. He can do nothing less, for He IS faithful.

Dear Lord,  I praise You Lord that though I stumble, I will not be utterly cast down for you God do uphold those you redeem. I praise you that in the name of Jesus you have redeemed me, you have called me by name and I am yours, and nothing can pluck me from the palm of your hand. You are faithful and true. Thank you for the victory I have in, through and by Jesus Christ and that in His name alone is freedom, grace and truth.

Have you had days when you feel like there is a giant-sized “F” on your forehead? Has the devil bullied you into quitting? Friend, recall the ways God has been faithful to you. Force yourself! The devil will cause you to forget because of your emotions; you will lose sight of the very things you have praised Him for in the past, and every victory. Grab your pen, lift your voice. Read words of life and let them wash over you until you come back to the Truth which is Christ in you – the Hope of Glory!

Journaling Prompts & Possibilities:

1. In our humanity we are prone to bouts amnesia. I am not always a list maker, however one thing I do is keep an ongoing Gratitude Journal. But when the enemy causes me to forget my God through various distractions, I revert to speaking my lists, instead of writing them. I list and speak His attributes, and praises as revealed in His words, and I list (out loud) all the ways He has delivered me in the past, I list His gifts of intimacy to me – special moments in times we have shared, and grown closer. I sometimes write random lists in my journal, but they honestly might only make sense to me, and God! Go ahead and write a random list of God reminders in your journal: Moments of intimacy, Uh-huh moments where you’ve looked up and felt His pleasure in you, Special victories He has given you, or all the ways He has shown you He is for you …for the next time you forget.

2. Write in response to the quote below (any way you like or I have added a few questions after) which is from Chapter 3 in Susie Larson’s book “Your Beautiful Purpose-Discovering and Enjoying WHat God can Do Through You” :

“I want you to imagine yourself a year from now walking in a new level of conviction, holy confidence, boldness, and passion. Imagine yourself embracing the days with greater clarity and purpose, choosing more carefully where you put your time because you’re convinced more than ever your life matters. “

What does this look like? Be specific. Write in detail what area it is that you need to live with new conviction, holy confidence, boldness and passion. What needs to change for you to embrace the day with greater clarity and purpose? Are you convinced your life matters enough to choose more carefully where you direct your time, focus and energy (with an abundance grace, of course)?

3. Armour Up! Ephesians 6 – Read it, Pray it, Journal it, Write it out, Memorize it, Meditate on it!

*This post is part of a series: Devotion Thoughts for Summer Days– a combination of faith-based posts published between 2011-2013 (and some written fresh this Summer) revised with journaling prompts.

Thank you for joining me on the journey!


You might also enjoy Journaling Your Journey with Jesus  .

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at dawn.paoletta@gmail.com

3 thoughts on “When You Feel Like a Failure

  1. Thanks Dawn, I really need to remember this. I have fought so long with this and am finally at a place where I know that I know who is in my corner. Love your blog (and your videos). Kim


  2. I read Nehemiah 8:2-12 this morning. It is part of a list of journal prompts at the end of a study I will lead next month. In verse 10 Nehemiah gives instruction that ends with a very dear thought, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” We have to remember that God is greater than anything else in the world.


  3. Dawn, I have been neglecting your Summer devotions; trying to keep up with the Upper Room devotion and one on the Psalms that I started in January and am determined to continue to the end! I have also been neglecting READING, period!

    But, today, after coming back from vacation and trying to get “caught up”, I pulled up my e-mail where I have saved several of your posts…and read this one first! All I can say is, Thank you! And, I read it at a most-needed time! Once I get done with lunch, I am grabbing my journal – for the devotions, journeying with Jesus from earlier this year!! – and getting back into this…I have several “committees” that I am on based on positions I fill at the church; and I need to re-think some of the “choices” I have made/am making/will make on “what to do” and “what to leave for someone else”!

    Thank you again…I’m off, but will be back!!


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