Why I Feel Like a Failure (And Maybe You do Too)

Life + Faith

I am a pretty tough chick. I’m not one who generally wears her heart on her sleeve. If I’m being honest (which I always try to be – that’s such a weird saying), I used to be that sort of person, but life and adolescent peers beat that out of me years ago. Now I am able to shake most things off when they bother me – I don’t dwell on it because I find that unproductive. Anger takes energy so I don’t like to give my energy up to every little bump or scrape.


The flip side of this, when something does sneak through… when something finds the crack in my armor it pierces deep. It cuts to the white meat. I had one such instance not long ago. Like a week ago. And it hurt – made me feel like a huge failure amidst other circumstances that were already not making me feel like I had a handle on life. And, you know what, I’m glad it happened.

I got done wiping the last tear out of my eye from this situation like 8 hours ago, but God is good like that. We’ve always had this relationship where He lets me freak out for a minute and then, when I come back down off of the ceiling, He gives me all kind of revelation into the actual problem. Because much of the time when we are feeling like this – whoever hurt us might be the cause of our failure feeling but they are very rarely the root.


So what had happened was: I had been asked to do something I thought I was moderately good at. Something I have been working to be good at basically my whole life. And when I presented what I thought was decent attempt the person who asked me to do said thing gave me some really honest feedback about how not good it really was. Not mean feedback – just honest. And they were right. What transpired was I caught an attitude – half because I knew they were right, half because I thought my hard work over the years meant nothing, and half because I felt like I would never be good enough no matter what I did (I did not write this during the hours I do math so it is what it is. Yes, I have math hours. Don’t judge me).


After I picked myself up off of the floor, talked to my momma who helped me gain my rationality back, and then talked to Jesus – He dropped something in my spirit that slapped me upside my head real firm like:


“Why are you trying to force yourself into spaces I never intended for you to fit?”


Sometimes we (I) work for something, some noble goal, we think we should be good at and it doesn’t go according to our plan. And then we feel like that means we failed.


As it turns out, I had attached some of my worth to being able to do this thing. To being what other people’s definition of “good” is in that particular context. I took their definition on and internalized it. And it’s not that their definition is not correct – I just now realize God didn’t create my gift to fit into that particular box. And the more I try to shove it into that space, the more frustrated I get and the more frustrated I get the more I feel like I’m failing.


In the last few days I have had to come to grips with the fact that:

  1. My worth does not rest in whether or not I can be other people’s definition of “successful” in a certain context.
  2. My gift is mine. It does not fit neatly into other people’s boxes. When I try to make it fit, I am opening myself up to feelings of inadequacy. There are plenty of other boxes. I have to be ok if mine looks a little different.
  3. The best solution is to rest. Sometimes I work so hard trying to be adequate. To be “enough” according to some definition I’ve pieced together from what I interpret as requirements of my environment. If I rest in who God has made me to be in this moment – that is a place of strength. Everything else is a position of weakness.  


While I will work to improve, which is always important, I will now direct that work toward the proper place. It will no longer be for the purpose of fitting into a context where I never belonged anyway. This work will now simply be because it’s a part of who God made me.


Ask yourself: In the areas I feel inadequate or like a failure, could it be that you are simply trying to fit into a space God never called you to? What are your thoughts or experiences with this?


    Constance Ballard

    December 15, 2018Reply

    Thankyou for sharing your heart. I so struggle at times , with feelings of not good enough. Especially when I need to present something. It can for me, make me depressed briefly. But like you I call Mom and Pray and God will redirect my thoughts/ feelings…I only have to be who God has made me to be. He Calls Us His Own! Love You Sister❤


      January 10, 2019Reply

      Thank you for sharing! That is so true, we are so loved for just being who we are!

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