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Failure Turned Inside Out

I decided I’m going to share things with others that the Lord has given me – even if it shows my imperfections. Guess what – I’m just a sinner saved by grace – accent on sinner! It’s a long one, sorry about that. I’ve never been accused of being short!

It is said that great things usually come from the death of a dream and failure can be a great stepping stone to success. I believe that to be true for I have experienced that myself many times. One such experience happened to me Friday.

Let me explain.

Years ago when Steve Piggott came to our church, he told of a youth group he once lead who had listened to the entire Bible in one sitting by listening to it on tape at a slighter faster speed than normal. We can listen much faster than we can talk. It gave me an idea. I had been struggling in my devotions. One thing or another usually interrupted my Bible reading and I would often give up trying to be consistent. Piggott gave me the idea to listen to Bible tapes every morning in the solitude of my room as I got ready every morning. That was February of 2004. As of last Thursday, I had met my goal to never again miss a day in the Word. It had been nearly 5 years. It had been the most blessed task I’d ever taken on. I gained a love for the Old Testament. I was able to start every day with the Word on my heart and many times received answers to questions that I had carried around in my heart for years. I got to know the Lord better and gave more of myself to Him.

Then it happened. On the day I left the Jones’ house, I neglected to read my Bible with Isaac. It was the first day I’d missed. He and I had such a good time reading it together each morning. But that morning, as I had done on all previous mornings during my visit to their house, I got up at 7:00 to get ready before he woke up. I didn’t want to miss a minute with him! But I got busy copying Isaac’s birthday CD’s for April to give away to friends and family. Time went by and before I knew it, Isaac come down and my day slipped away. I was busy getting the church bulletin done and sent it off via Internet, got packed up, loaded up the van, packed up boxes to take home, and spend a good share of the morning hugging my babies goodbye. I was busy from 7:00AM to noon readying my family for the long trip back home. At noon we said our goodbyes and I drove my family for the next 9 ½ hours, arriving home about 10:45 that night. I hadn’t sat at Jesus’ feet that morning and before I knew it, the day was over and I had neglected to be in the Word. When I got ready the next morning and pushed that button on my MP3 player to listen to my Bible, it hit me! I had missed a day. I was so sick at heart when I realized it! Four and a half years I had been faithful and then I blew it!

But had I? Today I realized that I was wrong to be disappointed in myself. OK, so why not celebrate that I’ve found something that works for me and has been my stay in a storm tossed world. It has gotten me through family tragedies, many hurtful moments and terrible disappointments these past 4½ years. It had brought me closer to my God and taught me more about abiding in Him. Today when I was commiserating about it, God spoke to me. It was one of those “Hit me over the head with a two by four” kind of moments.

Let me ask you. If I’m ever in a meeting and encouraging other ladies to get in the Word and be faithful, which of these two statements would best benefit them, keep the focus off me, and shine light on our God?  <!–[if !supportLists]–>1. <!–[endif]–>“I have not missed one day in my devotions since February 2004.” <!–[if !supportLists]–>2. <!–[endif]–>“I have only missed a few days over the years because I found something that works for me.”

One toots my horn and allows me to be satisfied in myself. The other presents a viable way to be faithful and shows other women they too can meet a goal. If I’d been perfect in my efforts, I’d be dismissed in their minds. They’d say, “I could never do that!” It was an impossible goal to present to someone! The focus would have been on the accomplishment and off the real reason to be in the Word. If we present ourselves as perfect, how on earth do we expect others to even begin to try to follow? We shoot ourselves in the foot because we forget to step back out of the lime light – and it’s not even about us!

I used to think I had to be perfect to be a good leader. Oh, if they saw one chink in my armor, how on earth would I be able to present a life worth following? I no longer feel that way. As a matter of fact, I think my imperfectness allows others hope! I have a love for God and a walk with Him that has been a major blessing to me and others. If I present myself as someone that no one else can be like, how does that benefit them? I want to get out of the way and point others to Him. How can I do that if I try to present myself as the perfect one rather than Him?

A big disappointment – and trust me when I say BIG – has caused me to change my faulty belief system. I know it was good for me to break my 4 ½ year streak.  I am glad I was a “Martha” that day rather than a “Mary.” My family needed me. Isaac and Hudson needed my hugs and kisses. There was work to be done and I did it. We left on time and we arrived home safely. How can that be a disappointment? There are moments to be a Mary and there are moments to be a Martha. I just pray I know which one to be at the right time and that others can follow me in my journey to the One who deserves the glory.

Isn’t it hard sometimes to die to self?

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One Response

  1. Dear Sister, How do you come up with these ideas? I’m just grateful that you do. Love, Linda

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