If there is one thing I often fail at, it's failing, or to be more accurate, accepting that I fail. In general, I have high expectations of myself and I can be a perfectionist. This doesn't translate to all areas of my life, but it's more evident in things I do for others. I want it done right, without a glitch. And I beat myself up when I get the slightest thing wrong. Most people would never know how I get down on myself about my failures, because I'm often too embarrassed to let it show. But it nags at my conscience and eats away at me. It can drive me to depression if I don't get over it.
I have learned that there are areas where I extend a lot more grace to other people than I do to myself. I allow other people to mess up a lot more than me. And this is wrong. It's not healthy. Not being able to accept failure and move on can have a seriously negative impact on one's life.
So as of late I've been learning to let stuff go. I'm trying to learn the balance between not being too careful and not being careless. I'm learning to stop, pray, forgive myself, and keep going. And with that I also need to learn to accept failure without excusing sin.
Recently, I was working on a high school English course, and for my final assignment I had to choose four pieces of work to submit that I felt best showed my improvement. I was supposed to show a balance of my best work, in addition to an essay assignment. As I reviewed work from the last few months, I settled on an assignment that was certainly not my best work. It was an assignment where I had to research people and terms related to existentialist philosophy and write about them. I hated it and found it depressing to just read about some of these people and their ideas. I procrastinated, did a little at a time, and pushed my way grudgingly through it. It took me entirely too long, and I wasn't sure what was going to be the end point of it all. It was not my best work, but I decided this would be one of my four assignments to submit. I wasn't expecting good grades, and I knew I could very well be hurting my mark, but I also couldn't pass it up and say I did all that work for nothing. I submitted it to show my persistence. To my surprise, with the other assignments and the essay, I received the highest grade I had so far in the course.
If you read my New Year's post and my mission for this year, you know I'm destined for failure. Some people that I've shared this idea with in the past month have certainly not all shared my enthusiasm. They know it will be a huge flunk. They almost convinced me to back out or maybe reduce my goal a little. But no, I'm going to stick to it, even if I'm destined to fail. I know there will be days I will have nothing to write down. But I need to learn to pick myself up the next day and keep going.
It scares me to make it my aim to accept failure. It doesn't seem very appealing, and I think I may be inviting more failure. I need to learn it's okay not to be perfect, it's okay to take off the masks, it's okay to mess up. With that I need to look to the Lord for grace, for forgiveness, for cleansing from my sin, for His Spirit to live in and through me, because I can't do it. And my God's okay with that.