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.

 

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Five Tips for Healing From Past Relationships

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with relationships. Not just the intimate, romantic kind – though that is not an area of life I personally excel in – but ALL relationships. Family, friends, boyfriends.. you name it. I have very vivid memories of being singled out in elementary school by my “best friends” in front of our entire class – which I later learned is actually a form of bullying, being the last to get invited to outings in middle school and the worst of them all, getting the friendship boot over speaker phone while my friends were out drinking and I was home alone.

It came as a total surprise to me when I gave my life to Christ that I would still experience this burden. I thought for sure that as soon as I got baptized and my slate was wiped clean, all of the pain and insecurities of my past would go with it. That I’d never again feel the weight of hurting. Boy, was I totally wrong.

I’m very experienced in being chosen last or not chosen at all. I’m very experienced in knowing what it feels like to have people you love more than anyone tell you that they just don’t want to be around you anymore. I know what it’s like to feel like an outsider in a group of people, even if those people are supposed to be the people who ride or die for you. Relational pain is not new to me. But I’ve learned a few things on this journey of healing that I think can be helpful for anyone who feels like no one cares about you as much as you care about them.

  1. SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE

    Being treated poorly by people is a real thing. Bullying, in all of its forms whether discreet or direct, is a real thing. But sometimes, we really have to be honest with ourselves and ask, “is this person really treating me in a way I don’t like or am I overanalyzing this situation?” If you come from a background of repeated offenses, it can be really easy to project your own issues onto someone else who has not even considered hurting you at all. It can be easy to say, “of course they didn’t text me back. They hate me!” instead of looking at the bigger picture and thinking that maybe they just haven’t read it yet. Before you freak out over another heartache, ask yourself if what you’re feeling is rooted in truth or not.

  2. SPEAK UP

    People are fickle. They don’t always see how they are affecting others because truthfully, we are too self absorbed. If there is a situation holding weight in your heart that you can’t seem to shake, or a person hurt you in some way and you’ve been carrying it for weeks, say something! It can be very easy to hold in your feelings and think that if you speak up, it might end poorly or they’ll hate you or your impressions of them would prove to be correct after all but ultimately, we’ll never really know for sure unless we’re able to say something. There have been times where I’ve shared my feelings on a particular situation only to find out that the situation was totally not what I thought at all! After having the conversation, I was able to see that we can conjure up all kinds of issues in our own heads and they are often a-lot smaller or non-existent if we have a conversation about it.

  3. KNOW YOUR WORTH

    Every single one of us was born perfectly and completely in God’s image so the way that other people treat us should be a total reflection of how God sees us or those relationships have to go. If you know that you are beautiful, strong, smart and loving just as you are, worthy of nothing by the very best in all avenues of life, don’t let anyone treat you like anything less. I’ve found that none of the relationships in my life that involved toxicity still stand today. And that may have very little to do with me and more to do with God. I’m convinced that God removes people from our lives for a reason and that could have everything to do with Him seeing that we deserve better. If God sees that, we should too. Also, I’m convinced that anyone we put on a pedestal higher than God – made into an idol of some kind – will be taken away too. After all, God is a jealous God.

  4. ALLOW YOURSELF TIME TO HEAL & LEARN TO FORGIVE

    I’m definitely guilty of closing off whenever I feel even remotely angry at someone. I’m often the one who says “Nope! I refuse to text them first. If they don’t text me, I don’t need to speak to them!” That kind of mindset could be the reason you have a poor interpretation of your relationships. If you’re playing the silly game of I’ll do what they do to me back, you’re most likely only hurting yourself. But also, if you’ve experienced a-lot of pain in the past, know that you will need time to heal. Healing does not happen overnight and it surely does not happen once you’re reborn. Healing requires prayer. Healing requires vulnerability, communication, trial and error. Don’t be afraid to share your shortcomings with your circle of friends. If they love you the way they should, they will support you. If you find that dependency in others is becoming a pattern, step away for a bit. Allow yourself some time alone with God to really understand what’s going on, who you are in Christ and where you want to go! Sometimes, separation and seclusion is a necessary part of healing. In that time, you can ask for the pain to go away but also, ask God to teach you how to forgive those who have hurt you. Holding onto hate, anger or resentment is not doing anything to them but only poisoning you. You will fall many times. But know that pain isn’t permanent and God will use your pain to not only make you stronger but will also use it to build His Kingdom.

  5. KEEP AN OPEN HEART & ACT THE PART

    Allowing past pain to dictate your future is a mistake and a huge disservice to you. You are not subject to a life of bad friendships, abusive relationships or negative internal perspectives. You are not a slave to pain. Keep an open heart and allow yourself to seek opportunities to welcome love into your life. Surround yourself with people who uplift you, even if you’re not sure how to receive it. Trust that God is not going to pull you out of pain to just put you back there. But also, as the famous saying goes, “be the change you want to see.” If you’re not being treated with absolute love, check yourself and see if you’re giving it. Are you more focused on what people aren’t doing for you than you are on what you’re not doing for them? Love people as God loves you and those who deserve to be in your life will not only know how to respond to it but they’ll be led by example on how to reciprocate. If they don’t know how to receive or reciprocate your love for them, that’s okay too! Love them anyway, forgive them and pour grace onto them.

Relationships are part of God’s wonderful and beautiful design for our lives. We are not meant to do life alone. If healing is what needs to happen before we can learn to fully embrace that from people, then let’s work on that. Leave the pain at Jesus’ feet. Leave the people of your past in the past. God knows the desires of our hearts and He also knows the baggage we choose to carry. He’s willing to help with the load, you just have to hand it over first.