“Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.” Psalms 27:11
Have you ever had a time when something happened in your life and you are left feeling like a total failure?
Perhaps, every one of us can say, “Been there, done that one!”
That could actually apply to so many different things in our lives. But, what is most important is what we do with those moments.
I have been a bible teacher for many years now. I absolutely love teaching kids and women the Word of God! It is my heart’s passion. But, several years ago, God asked me to step out in faith and begin to do something that was totally out of my comfort zone. He put it in my heart to start writing and sharing my thoughts and teachings with the world. Daunting as that thought can be on my best days, I decided to take that proverbial “leap of faith” and give writing a try. So, my readers, I am brand new to this world of writing and publishing. And, while I am confident in what I am writing and publishing these days, I have already had my fair share of days when I feel like an absolute failure and am tempted to give up writing altogether.
Does anyone else ever feel that way?
So, this past month or so, I have been going through something within the world of writing and publishing that I didn’t see coming, didn’t expect and certainly didn’t want. I cannot and will not go into any great detail other than to say that it rocked my writer’s confidence with an almighty tough blow. Perhaps the blow was more to my ego than anything else. But yes, perhaps a little to my writing ability. But then, it could also just be the “jerks” behind the whole scenario of what happened. I don’t know. It just kicked me! And it hurts! Bad!!
In all honesty, I am feeling very much like a failure right now. And it’s not pretty!
One day, I want to give up writing. The next day I get a new inspiration and writing seems a breeze. And then, a really nasty comment is posted about my writings and I am determined to quit again. Then someone reminds me that I do have a voice and what I have to say is important. Then someone else comes along to share what they personally have learned from my writings. Their comments encourage my heart and brings my passion back to the forefront. I feel confident to keep on writing despite…!
I wanted to share one comment I received from a special person in my life. He happens to be a good friend, a financial donor to my ministry with kids, and a godly man that I have greatly admired for years. I recently sent him a copy of my first book that was published in April of 2019. My friend spoke about the book and what he thought of my sending it to him. He had already started reading it and was enjoying it. He said, “I’ve taught on this book’s subject in the church for years, but reading this now, I am learning some things that I never knew before. It’s an awesome book. You did a great job with it. When are you writing another?” My heart was encouraged by his words in one second, and then my heart sunk down to my toes when he asked about another book. Sadly, this newly published book, is already being taken out of distribution due to circumstances beyond my control and thus my hurting heart and a true sense of failure on my part. I talked with this friend about what all had happened. He listened to my words, and understood. But greater still, he was listening to my heart for the words my mouth was not saying. He understood that too.
Then he said, “And knowing you like I do, you probably feel like you are a failure right now.”
But, it was his next statement that was just the encouragement that I needed. He lovingly said, “Don’t feel that way! You are not a failure! Fail means first attempt in learning. You just learned something about the reality of the writing and publishing world you probably couldn’t have learned any other way. Let me tell you something girl, you always have something valuable to say. Write what is on your heart and then give it to God before you give it to the world. God will take care of the results.”
I needed to hear that! I was listening to his words and heart too.
I like that part – “fail means first attempt in learning.” I like it, in part, because I like acronyms. But, I like it because its true. Oftentimes we do fail at our first attempt of learning something new that brings us out of our comfort zone. At least, I know I usually do. Yet, just because its our first attempt at something, that doesn’t have to mean that we failed at it. Nor does it mean that we should quit and never try again. Try again is exactly what we need to do. It’s what I need to do.
All this reminds me of the Psalmist David. Now, here is a bible character who knew failure. People failed him, circumstances of life brought failure his way, he failed himself. I am certain there were times in his life when others, and perhaps even himself, were all too happy to remind David of the failures in his life. Satan, for one, is notorious in reminding me of my many failures in life. Our enemies are always all too happy to point out our failures to us. Question is, “Are we listening?”
David has this to say of his enemies: “When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident…” Psalms 27: 2-3.
Our enemies are out there, to fight against us, to entice us to quit and give up the battle, to remind us of where we have failed in the past. And when they do come for us, it is possible to rise up confidently and look them in the face.
David goes on to say, “And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me. Therefore, I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praise to the Lord.” (verse 6). We don’t have to react to those who say we “failed” and we don’t have to give up our dreams just because our “first attempt in learning” didn’t go all that well. We choose the next step!
The Psalmist David, chose to cry out to His God in the midst of the hurt and accusations of “failure”. But pay attention, dear reader, to what David asks of his God. “Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me and answer me. . . Teach me Your way, O Lord and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.” (verses 7 and 11).
I love the example of David here. Instead of allowing the enemies to get the best of him, he turns to his God. He lifts up his voice and shares with God what needs to be shared – his heart. And then, David asks his Lord, to teach him. David is able to look past his enemies, look beyond their words and actions towards him and see that there is a God who cares. David didn’t settle for the cries of “failure” from those who rose up against him. He didn’t entertain “failure” as an option. David turns to his God in a “first attempt in learning” moment and asks God to be his teacher.
I believe that God’s first words to David would have been, “You are NOT a failure!” Those are the words God spoke into my heart too. And from there God teaches us a new reality. Yes, we can learn many valuable lessons from the hand of God. He is a great teacher. As He teaches, He would encourage confidence, He would inspire us to use the talents we have, and He would challenge us to keep trying for “I am here to help you.” God wants to be our greatest “cheerleader” as we take the not so good things that happen in life and turn them into learning opportunities that build our character and grow us as a person.
The last thing God wants is for us to listen to the voice of our enemies when they attempt to tell us “You are a failure! Let me show you what you did. . . ” Listen not to those voices. They will only bring us down.
I choose not to listen. For in my head and in my heart I KNOW that I am not a failure. God reminds me of that every day. He loves me for who and what I am. He gave me the talents and abilities that I have. He instilled in me the ability to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. He has created me and is helping me to be something amazing in His sight.
So, I might be new to this world of writing and publishing AND I might have a lot to learn as I walk this journey of adventure, but I am confident, with God’s help, I can be an amazing writer for His honor and glory!
“Teach me Your way, O Lord!”