Today, in my quiet time with the Lord, I was wrestling with something new I felt Him leading me to do. This new thing would stretch me outside of my comfort zone, which is not bad, but it is uncomfortable.
I’m realizing my struggle is not just doing something new, but knowing that I likely won’t do it well. You see, I am a recovering perfectionist. I don’t like to feel like I am failing. I don’t like the idea of not being able to do something well. I don’t like the idea of others seeing my mistakes, especially in an area where I think they would expect me to be more than competent.
In my quiet time, I sensed the Lord saying to me, “It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to make mistakes. I know it’s not ok with you, but it’s ok with me. Do your standards for yourself really need to be higher than my standards for you? I want you to aim for the target I show you, but it’s ok if you don’t hit it. I know you are not perfect and I don’t expect you to be. You are not alone. I will be with you when you succeed and when you fail.”
The picture came to mind of a toddler learning to walk. As parents, we expect them to take a step or two and then fall down. After many cycles of a step and then falling down, they start to take more steps in a row. Wouldn’t be it ridiculous for us to expect our baby to suddenly know how to run after taking one step? Instead, we expect they will fall and then get back up and try again. The same is true with a child learning to ride a bike.
These thoughts and pictures brought a sense of peace to my body and mind. Yes, the new thing was still intimidating and I know I am still likely to make mistakes and even fail, but I know I am not alone. Immanuel is with me and will be by my side, regardless of the outcome.
Are you struggling with an area in life where you are afraid of failing? Maybe it is a new endeavor where you are not yet experienced. Maybe it is something important to you, like being a good parent. Maybe it is reaching out to build a new friendship.
God is like a good parent to us; He knows us, loves us and knows our limitations. When we try something and fail, He is not upset about the failure – He is delighted that we are trying. Don’t take my word for it, bring your struggle to Immanuel – God with us. I used the Immanuel Journaling technique for my quiet time interaction with the Lord and suggest you try it as well.