How to Overcome Shame and the Feeling of Failure

Do the feelings of failure or shame overwhelm you? God has made a way for you to overcome these feelings and rest victoriously in Him.

Today the teen is frustrated with me, annoyed, and it feels like I’m really bad at this motherhood job. It’s far too easy to be annoyed right back. And so, I am.

My jeans don’t fit quite right lately; they bulge in too many places. I sigh out my exasperation as I pull them on, but it doesn’t make them fit any better. Why is the battle so hard?

Finances are thin again, and I know where I’m to blame.

I know which rugs haven’t been vacuumed. Which windows never get washed.

I really should serve more, cook more, care more, and be more involved, but I’m tired. And it’s somehow easier to scroll. And then feel bad about it, weirdly.

On any given day, most of us keep a running tab of our failures. We don’t have to search the archives for ammo; they’re never far from our thoughts. No matter how put together the package looks, we know the dirt in the corners – the skipped quiet times, the ridiculously messy car, and the distance we’ve been fostering with our spouse, our mother-in-law, or friend. We can’t hide the frayed edges from ourselves. So we don’t. We let them stack like a house of cards until one more failure exposes our shifty confidence for the pieced-together mess that it is.

Why is being good so hard? Why does the struggle to be gentle and kind feel like a daily battle with innumerable foes whose tactics wear me down more often than not? Why am I always messing something up?

The barrage of offensive thoughts is hard to defend when a thread of truth connects them all, isn’t it? But what if the problem is not our facts as much as it is our focus?

You see, shame would like to sink us here as it spotlights our lack, but the very temptation lures us into a false gospel.

The book of Titus reminds us, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us —not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy…” (Titus 3:5-6 CSB)

Do you see the correction we need? Our works of righteousness never have been and never will be our salvation. In fact, the prophet Isaiah calls the righteous deeds we’re looking to add to our mental scorecard filthy rags. Since when did I start keeping score of filthy rags?

God’s Faithfulness Outweighs Our Faults

Our salvation is due to God’s mercy alone. He is the way, and the truth, and the light. If we know this and believe this, then it is time we work to remember it and align our thought patterns with the truth of God’s Word.

We are too easily tempted to be fixated on our failures rather than the expanse of God’s kindness. There is no contest. Our faults are forever outweighed by God’s faithfulness.

How should this impact the way we view our lack? Every inadequacy can become an invitation for more of our limitless God. Every weakness can be an opportunity to experience His strength. Every failure is an occasion to believe in and experience His faithfulness.

Refuse to believe the subtle lie that our good behavior is what makes us good, and remember that our salvation comes from the forever good God. He doesn’t deal in shame but in kindness – kindness that leads us to repentance, kindness that brought us salvation, and kindness that He grows in us by the power of His Holy Spirit. This is His fruit in us.

May our counterattack for shame always be the Truth of who Christ is and how He loves.

Remembering this is how we take thoughts captive and bring them into obedience.

Remembering this is how we see beyond the weariness of the moment to the weight of our real mission.

Remembering, this is how we begin to live and move and breathe from that very foundation of the gospel.

Join me, friend. Let’s be women who remember.

Today we get to celebrate the release of Katie Westenberg’s powerful new book, But Then She Remembered: How to Give God Your Full Attention in a Distracted World.

If you are feeling the weight of distraction in this frenzied world, this book unpacks the solid biblical solutions you are looking for. With a full Bible study included in the book, Katie writes like a gentle guide, unearthing truth and pointing the reader right back to Scripture. Find out more or order your copy here.

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