His parents and sister never accepted anything he had done as “good enough.” Even after he had successfully passed the Chinese medical licensing exam, it was still not enough.
Many of his previous girlfriends had been very aggressive and eventually left him feeling betrayed. Even within the relationship he always felt compared to their past boyfriends. He was never enough for them. They wanted someone else. They tossed him aside.
Many other people had also communicated to him that he was not good enough, that he needed to be something more than he was. He accused each of them before God of contributing to this very destructive belief that he is not good enough. For each one, he was able to forgive them because he asked God to do justice on his behalf and he knew that God was taking up his case. He confessed his own part as well. He had believed and lived out this lie to his own harm.
He rejected the lie and asked God to break its power and replace that lie with a truth.
What he saw didn’t make sense to him. He was sure it wasn’t God speaking to him so he initially said that he hadn’t “gotten” anything. After some encouragement to share what he had seen, he said that he saw a young child on a bike in a half-pipe. A BMX biking kid, maybe 6 years old, doing an extreme sport… I can understand why he would think that it wasn’t from God.
I asked him if he thought a child of that age would fall trying to do something like that. He said, “Of course! You are going to fall if you’re ever going to try to learn how to do something like that… This is something that my parents would never allow me to try.”
I asked him what he thought God was trying to tell him. He broke into tears and said, “I should not be afraid of trying things that are difficult. I am a work in process. It’s okay that I’m not perfect. I should not be afraid to try new challenges. It’s okay to fall…. God, You don’t demand perfection, You want me to keep trying. You are the one who helps me back up.”
He had been expecting God to respond to his failure in the same manner that his parents did: criticism and shame. God showed him otherwise.
I hope this story helps you see God’s true heart. He is a good Father. He doesn’t demand perfect conformity, he wants to hang out with you and go on adventures with you. He wants you to discover new and exciting things. He wants to help you not waste your life, but live it to the fullest; not buying into the lies of materialism, perfectionism and self-advancement, but living a true adventure with Him. Adventures are risky and are usually full of mistakes, wrong turns and even failure.
Ask God what lies you believe. Do you know how to deal with those lies before God?
Can failure be worshipful? I think God told me once that it can, and that makes sense to me. I sure hope that that’s true. Twice now in the last year Michelle and I have stepped out in faith and generosity and completely failed at what we were attempting. (Click here to read about a failure that was not worshipful)
Last spring, Michelle was taking a class a local community college as she was trying to knock out a few electives to finish up her Bachelors in Psychology (Which, she just finished! Way to go baby!). One of her class mates was in need of a computer and didn’t have the money to buy one. Michelle decided that we should offer one of our two laptops so that he would have something to finish school with. One computer would be plenty for her and me. He was very grateful when she told him and we were all convinced that God was using Michelle and me to extend the love of God in a very tangible way.
Then, as a responsible computer owner, I wanted to wipe the hard drive before handing it off. I had heard that this was the safest way to ever sell or give a used computer. I’m not very talented with the computer skills, so after fumbling around for about two days I called a buddy for help. He was able to wipe the computer, but then Windows wouldn’t reload. Today, neither Michelle’s classmate nor Michelle and I have that computer. It is still waiting for some miraculous OS download from heaven. Fail.
The toughest part about that one is that if we hadn’t tried to be generous, we would still have a second computer. I wonder how much spiritual warfare plays into stuff like that? Maybe it’s just a result of bad engineering. Then again, that was the same computer that miraculously healed itself of a nasty virus after I prayed over it a year or two prior! No joke, it was broken, got prayed over, and then it was better. Let’s be honest, miracles do happen. God does respond to prayers, and God is really good with computers! Why didn’t he fix it when we wanted to give it away then? I definitely prayed then too. I don’t know. But, I’m convinced that He’s good.
Then there was tonight’s adventure. Michelle and I realized that we had no family plans for Christmas day itself. We easily could have just enjoyed the time alone, relaxed in front of the fireplace, read a book, or taken a bath, but Michelle thought it would be awesome if we invited someone over to enjoy Christmas dinner with us. Someone who didn’t have anywhere else to go and needed someone to show them that they matter. God knows there are plenty of those people out there!
So, off I went to find our person. Michelle stayed home and finished the final preparations for the meal and I went out. We were both very nervous and concerned that we wouldn’t be able to find anyone who needed a place to hang out for the evening. We spent some time in prayer and asked God to lead us to this person that He had targeted. We had felt that God had told us that He already had someone picked out. After driving around for 45 minutes and only approaching one person who seemed like a good candidate, I called Michelle and we decided that I should head home. The food was getting cold and it was getting past everyone’s dinner time. Fail.
Man, can’t a guy offer a free dinner to someone! I would have loved to have heard their story and listened to their struggles and victories. I would have loved to have started a relationship with that person. But, it didn’t happen. I wonder how much spiritual warfare plays into this sort of thing? Maybe it was just bad planning and lack of perseverance on our part. I don’t know.
As Michelle and I struggled to process this all as we ate our amazing feast alone, I realized something. Disappointment sucks. It’s almost painful. It gets you doubting and questioning and wondering and pondering. It’s difficult. But, I’m convinced that it’s not as difficult as waking up one day, realizing you’re 75 years old wishing that you had taken more risks, walked more in faith, given more generously, dared more boldly, and thereby lived more abundantly.
Today I was reminded that I can deal with failure. What I can’t deal with is living a pointless, boring life.