Don't Let Failures Define You

Today I read Genesis 20-22, Luke 8, and finished chapter 10 in Integrity. As I reflect on the things I read today I am realizing how important it is to separate who I am as a person from the failures I might have in life. Too often I will want others to like me or I will fear failure so I will beat myself up when I do something wrong or make a mistake. When I do that I am saying that who I am as a person is based on what I do in life. Now of course some of who I am is reflected in what I do, but I am not the sum of all my actions or otherwise I would be a failure one minute and a success the next. That kind of roller coaster is not something I want to be on.

As I look at the life of Abraham I am relieved to see a guy who was not perfect and made mistakes. In my reading this morning the guy went and made the same mistake he had made earlier in the book of Genesis by lying to king Abimilech about his wife Sarah by again saying she was his sister. He did this before and got caught and kicked out and the same thing happens here. It is so close to what happened before it almost looks like the author of Genesis forgot he already told that story and ended up telling it again! So that king takes Sarah as his wife and would have slept with her if God had not intervened and told the king in a dream the truth. Besides all the other marital issues I am sure this situation caused, it was major failure that could have caused Abraham to beat himself up mentally. He could have said to himself things like, “what an idiot I am! I can’t believe I made the same mistake again. Lot never seems to make any mistakes. I guess I will always be a loser.” This could have paralyzed him and kept him from being a leader of his household and family.

What happens instead is he moves on and continues to listen and follow God and in fact has his son Isaac and then has one of his greatest faith moments right after this major failure (his obedience to sacrifice Isaac). I wonder what happened in between the time of his failure and his success. Obviously Abraham did not dwell on it for too long. I wonder if he owned his mistake and apologized to this wife and did what it took to make it right with God and then moved on. Moving on is such an important thing to do after a failure. You need to clean up the mess and seek reconciliation but you also need to move beyond it or that failure will begin to consume your life. There have been times in life where I have dwelled on my own failures too long and others where I didn’t take responsibility for my own failures and moved on too quickly. Integrity is the ability to admit failure, make amends, and once the issue is settled move on instead of letting it define you. In all of this is a big faith in a great God of grace that allows me to know that no matter how bad I fail he loves me just the same and there to help pick me up and take the next step in my spiritual growth. What an incredible God I serve!

Lord, help me to be a man of character who owns his mistakes, takes care of the fall out, and then moves on. Don’t let me define myself by what I do but by who I am in you. help me to be a man of deep integrity who represents you to world in a way that honors you and compels them to seek you. Amen.
blog comments powered by Disqus