There are certain mindsets that will invariably upset our emotional well being and prevent us from living a full life. Understanding these false beliefs is the beginning of a journey to wholeness and an identity firmly fixed on the truth of God’s Word.
The first is I must meet certain standards of performance to feel good about myself.
The second is I must be approved by certain people to feel good about myself.
The third and the focus of today’s post is . . .
Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.
Failure, even something one has no control over, is difficult. The fear of failure is even worse. It prevents a person from trying something new, pursuing a dream or taking a risk. I learned at a young age I didn’t want to try anything at which I wouldn’t succeed. The belief that failure makes me unlovable kept me from trying new or risky things.
While you may not avoid new or risky endeavors, perfectionism may be your master. This is just as cruel as not trying. Perhaps, anticipating failure and imminent punishment, you withdraw or punish yourself with self-abusive behaviors. Whatever your response to this false belief, it is destructive and enslaves you.
Failure doesn’t mean we are unlovable, it means we need an ally, someone to come alongside and assist. A careful reading of scripture reveals that we are completely forgiven (Ephesians 1:7); full payment for any failure – past, present, future – has been made (Colossians 1:13-14); there is no condemnation for a child of God (Romans 8:1); eternal life is ours (Romans 6:23); cleansing is accomplished (Hebrews 10:22); we are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10).
Does this resonate with you? Does failure scare you to death? Identifying the false belief – failure makes you unlovable and deserves to be punished – is the first step. When you are ready to take the next step, get with a trusted spiritual advisor, identify specific lies in your life regarding failure and bring them into the light of God’s Word! It is here they will lose their power and you will know new levels of freedom!
This material is adapted from “The Search for Significance” by Robert McGee.