Thursday, October 10, 2013

After failure

I’m so often outsmarted by the enemy’s many tricks. This is probably one that works on me the best; get what you want by ungodly means. “The end result is what matters so what’s the difference if you demand, lose your temper or threaten to get what you know is right”, he tempts. I think he succeeds so often because I’m so strong willed and my desires for the things I want to see are so great. Things like obedience in my kids, diligence in school and honor for one another. So if I just push a little harder, change my tone so they know I mean business or give a harsh glance, I can get some results here. But not really, I’ll just be getting what I want by ungodly means. The bible declares that when Jesus came to teach us, he didn’t use any of those techniques. “He came full of grace and truth” (John 1:14) and He calls us to do the same when we teach our children.
Since I home school my two boys, I get many opportunities to fail and fail right before their eyes. Let me list my most frequent enemies and the failures that follow so often. See if you can relate.

Anger  over my sons laziness during school, over meanness, over their sense of entitlement, over how easily they are influenced by evil. I’m angry over my inability to change anything inside of them or inside of myself. Anger over my own lack of surrender and lack of willingness to submit to God and others. Rather than feeling discouragement, my tendency is to display greater independence and self reliance which of course only fuels pride and separation from God.  Failure.

Fear is a present enemy because it can tempt me to eliminate faith by taking a matter into my own hands and “making it happen” by ungodly means. Instead of trusting God, I can threaten, get angry, withdraw or try an emotional plea to get my way. Failure.

Helplessness is scary to me. I’d almost do anything not to feel that so I find myself striving, working and performing in my own strength many times. The idea that God is at work while I simply rest and trust is hard for me. Even harder is to grasp that He can use the evil displayed around me right now. Everything in me just wants to make things right, right now! So I try and fail again.

The normal progression after those times of failure looks something like this. I almost always begin a conversation with myself that starts with the question of  “what is the worst that can happen”. So what if He chooses to really enter my kids minds five or even ten years from now? What if I fail to truly learn to submit to God before I’m 80? Will He love me less? Will He give up on me? Will He ever stop trying? And I finally land on this truth;  He will not.
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
 Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt…”

This becomes the game changer. This fact (and my faith in it) that God still loves me despite of my failures, is the one and ONLY thing that makes me get up and try again. I must make this choice every time I fail. Even now, as Gods love pours over me afresh, I realize how often my lack of faith in this area must affect my boys. Do they know when they fail, that they are loved? What about when they don’t obey me, don’t perform in my time or disappoint me or themselves, do they have hope of ever changing? Perhaps the very reason God allows me to have so many failures, is so that I may never burden them with an unrealisticly perfect standard no one can uphold. Maybe every time I fail, I have a little more compassion with others, a little more love and some more patience.  I must teach my sons to hope in God after failure the most because that will give them strength to get up again every time.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Rom.1-5


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