Finding Confidence After Failure

“All I do is fail, let people down, disappoint, lie and mess up. How could you ever use me, God? And even if you did, why would you even want to? I’m a mess.”

I don’t know about you but negative self talk comes very naturally to me. I’ve always been a pen to paper planner. I’ve always been an ‘A+’ student. I want to excel. I want to be the best version of myself possible. I want to break generational curses, be set apart, used by God and if I’m being honest, I desire to end up reaching perfection at the end of the process, which is such an unattainable goal. I WANT! I WANT! I WANT!

Every time I end a day thinking “Okay Cheyanne, tomorrow you’re gonna do this! You’re going to be great! You’re going to start those habits you’ve been putting off and make time for your friends and start cultivating some new skills. Tomorrow, you got this!” and then I fail to stick to that game plan, I feel a sense of defeat that weighs on me for days. It’s a self-awareness curse. Knowing where you can improve, knowing the exact plan you can put into action and then still repeating the cycle you’ve grown accustomed to. And in the middle of the storm – in the middle of the self-hate and the guilt trips, I feel God speak to me and say: All I do Cheyanne, is WIN.

Isn’t that SO good?! That even WHEN we fail, God still holds the victory. God is a step ahead. God knows the path we’re on and the one He’s leading us to. He knows the beginning, middle and end of our life’s journey. Now, don’t confuse this revelation as being one of permission for laziness and sin. God is a winner and nothing we ever endure, experience or even feel is too much for Him. But change requires action. Knowledge without application is futile. If you’re like me and you struggle with balance, feelings of inadequacy and a burning desire to replace certain habits with more productive and fruitful ones, then YOU have to make the decision to do that. But please know that with God in the middle of all of our highs and lows, we can NEVER lose. This isn’t a “name it and claim it” philosophy. This isn’t positive affirmation rooted in self-help. Not at all. This is believing that God – the same God who runs this entire universe – in the middle of my life can help me create positive and lasting change that will redirect the entire course of my life. And the same is true for you.

The secret to not caving under the pressure we can often times place on ourselves when we’re not “measuring up”? Stay plugged in to the true vine. Stay plugged in to the source of love, victory, strength and peace. God is ready to take over! I imagine Him speaking over us saying, “I’ll break those chains! I’ll help you break those bad habits. Just look to me and you will start to redefine how you see yourself. All I do is win and all I have is yours.” Remember that Jesus declares in Matthew 11 that HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light. Surrender the pressure to Jesus. He never asks us to carry that, especially not alone.

Some advice? If defeat leads you to isolation, just start showing up even when you don’t feel like it. Show up to church, to meetings that you think are optional. Continue to serve on the team that you think doesn’t matter or make a difference. Continue to pour into your friends and family who don’t see you the way you want them to. Continue to cry out to God in your quiet places. God wants us to rely on Him. He never forgets us or leaves us behind.

The prodigal son mentioned in Luke never imagined he’d get a second chance with his father. On his journey back home after squandering his inheritance and “messing up” royally, he probably kept thinking to himself, “there’s no way my father is going to take me back. Look at all I’ve done! I’m a mess. There’s no way he’ll love me now.” And he no doubt was left speechless when he arrived home to a tearful father with open arms, not desiring to hear a practiced speech or apology but ready to embrace his son with love, gifts and celebration. The father wasn’t concerned about what he’d done to end up back home. He didn’t give him a speech about how he should be LUCKY that he had a father who cared enough. He called on his servants to bring him a clean robe, new sandals and get the calf they’d been fattening to celebrate his son’s return. I truly believe that’s the ultimate depiction of our God. He’s ready whenever we are to embrace our return. Despite our hang-ups and mistakes, He’s ready to celebrate whenever we decide to trust Him enough to lean on Him.

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We’re only human. We will ALL fall short of the glory of God on a repetitive loop. We’ll all feel like we don’t fit the bill or cut it for the Kingdom. When we get a little bit lazy or stop giving 100%, God sees the potential in us. Dig in to who God says you are. Not the whispers in your head that you and the Enemy debate about at all hours of the day. Listen to the whisper of our Heavenly Father’s loving voice that speaks nothing but life. That creates supernatural confidence that inspires purpose and changes heart posture that eventually leads to new habits.

Friends, you’re not who the Enemy keeps convincing you that you are. You’re not your past. You’re not your screw-ups. You’re not your failures. You’re a worthy child of the Almighty King who reigns and rules over all. YOU are Heir to the throne. Stand up tall, brush off the shame, guilt, embarrassment and walk around with rich kid audacity and confidence. It’s not OVER until GOD claims the victory. It’s not over until God says it is. It’s not over until God wins because that is ALL He knows how to do. Get up and start again. His mercies are new EVERY single morning which gives you and I a chance to turn from our old ways and start walking a new path – not tomorrow but today. If you believe it, you have a shot to put it into practice right now! Don’t waste another day.

 

My Cup Runneth Way Over

We all have a breaking point.

If you’re anything like me, it may take you a while to get there. A bad day may result in a bad mood that lasts a week without an identifiable reason. You might start rolling your eyes at things that would normally never bother you or yell at someone over an innocent mistake. You may be really good at saying “I’m doing great!” when someone asks how you are even though you know you’re so far from.

Being vulnerable has never been my strong suit. I grew up surrounded by strong, independent and seemingly emotionally steady women who never needed anything from anyone, especially not their pity. So you can imagine my fear when I started to feel my emotions coming to the surface at 2x speed in front of all to see at the end of a lovely day at church on a random Sunday. One right person asks “how are you?” and suddenly, I’m weeping in my hands. The weight of every burden I had been carrying for weeks suddenly too heavy to carry any more. Before I could stop myself, I’m sharing the intimate truths of my life in front of people who’ve never seen anything except my very best, even some people I had never seen or spoken to before in my life. And I’m horrified. “STOP CRYING RIGHT NOW!!!” is all I kept thinking. “YOU LOOK DESPERATE. YOU LOOK STUPID. EVERYONE IS WATCHING AND YOU’RE SHARING TOO MUCH!” But it was too late. I’d already been showered in prayers, showered in love and showered in an unexpected blessing. I’d also already smeared my mascara and there was no turning back after that.

I look back on that moment and I still cringe. Even though I don’t regret it, I do think there’s a lesson to be learned from it. Life will always be full of burdens that we should not try to carry alone or in our own strength. Finances that are sinking fast, health that took an unexpected dip, family members in trouble that you are in no position to help, a country drowning in negativity. We are simply not strong enough to bear these burdens. If we try and consider ourselves self-sufficient, it’s only a matter of time before our back breaks from the load and our mood shifts, our emotions sink and our cup overflows. That moment of reaching my breaking point reminded me of the God I surrendered to when I decided to follow Christ. It’s the same one that says in Matthew 11:30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to bear the weight of our sin. He died so that we could know peace. Following Jesus means we have access to the Prince of PEACE. But we have to first trust Him!

Getting home that night, after my post-crying face showed the evidence of my heavy spirit, I felt renewed faith. What was missing in my life wasn’t everything I lacked or the settings that were all wrong. It was that I forgot for a moment who I serve. I forgot that daily time with Jesus is the only way to maintain my peace of mind. Going to Jesus first before trying to figure things out on my own is a daily commitment but one that reaps that most rewarding outcome. This is the beauty of community. I felt supported that day. While embarrassed, I also felt safe. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the breakdown happened that night in that environment because of God. It was as if God was saying, “I have you. I’ve put people in your life to support you. It’s okay to let your guard down.” Ultimately, I was reminded of what I already knew to be true. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Without him, our cups will always overflow, our burdens will always be too heavy and we will not truly feel the peace He has promised. Go to Jesus. Get on your knees in prayer. Open up the Bible collecting dust on your desk. Don’t be afraid to let people who care for you help you. Jesus has His hands out waiting for you. He wants nothing more than for you to find rest in his warm embrace.