Finding Faith in Failure

June 22, 2015 | 16 comments

One of the best things about having a blog for the past eight years, has been the way God has used it to bring beautiful friends like you into my life. One of those friends is guest-writing for me today. She’s sharing a beautiful message that’s sure to encourage you. Her words are perfectly timed for my quaking heart, as I fly to Nashville to speak at an eating disorder/body-image conference this week. Please welcome the lovely Jenni DeWitt to the blog.

Finding Faith in Failure
By Jenni DeWitt

Standing in our church one night after Bible study, surrounded by age-old polished wood and gold accents, I confided in my friend Janet how nervous I was for an upcoming radio interview.

It would be broadcast live to thousands and just thinking about it made my heart pound with anxiety. I was so afraid that I would lose my words or make a mistake.

Janet listened patiently as I worried out loud, and then she put her hand on my shoulder and softly said, “Jenni, God can use your mistakes too. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

As soon as she spoke the words, I knew she was right. For years, I have waged war against a deep-seated belief that anything less than perfect is unacceptable and has no value. But God’s not asking us to be perfect.

In fact, just the opposite. In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes:

But [Jesus] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Our imperfections — these failures we are so afraid of — might actually be our biggest strengths, because it is in these weaknesses that God’s power is made perfect.

A few days after I talked to Janet, I sat in my living room begging God to send His Holy Spirit to replace my weakness with His power. Then, with one more deep breath, I picked up the phone to call in for my live interview.

It went well. The radio people were funny and they put me at ease. I was able to speak from the heart, and as I hung up the phone, I felt good about it. Friends and family complimented me. I was relieved.

A couple months later, I received a copy of the interview from the radio station.

As I listened, I was disappointed to hear the imperfections — the nervous way my voice wavered and the unnecessary “you know” said over and over. It was obvious that I was no professional radio personality.

Then Janet’s words came to me again: “It doesn’t have to be perfect. God can use us, even when we make mistakes.”

So I set aside my pride and stopped obsessing over the imperfections of that interview. And when I did, I could hear God’s message ringing loud and clear from my trembling words.

So be weak with me, sisters. Make mistakes with me.

And listen to God — can you hear Him saying: “I want you to know that it’s okay to fail at things. I can use your failure the same as I use your success for My glory. The weight is not on your shoulders. You need only to keep marching forward in My name, and I will take care of the rest. So many times I hear you tell yourself that it needs to be better, that you need to be better. And I tell you right now that is wrong. You are perfect. You are loved – even in your sinfulness, because I created you.”

What could be more perfect than that?

Jenni DeWitt is a fun-loving, loud-laughing contemplative who is discovering the value of rest and silent prayer in the midst of this rushed society. She is the author of two books — Forty Days and Why Won’t God Talk to Me? Jenni lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons. Her youngest son has been battling cancer since the age of two. Jenni loves to find Jesus in the everyday and writes about rejecting fear and choosing trust in God at Genuflected.com.

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by | June 22, 2015 | 16 comments

16 Comments

  1. Lauren English

    This thought is so freeing. I love thinking that other people can learn from and connect with my brokennness and imperfection more than they could any perfect words or actions. Vulnerability is always more endearing! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Jenni DeWitt

      Well said, Lauren! Vulnerability is always more endearing. We connect more deeply with people who are brave enough to be vulnerable with us.

      Reply
  2. Ashley

    I just love this, Jenni. I forget sometimes that He is enough, so I don’t have to be. I strive for vulnerability, and am quick to share my messy moments. But when I need to take a “scary” next step, I stop. I get nervous that I won’t do it right. I won’t do it perfectly. That I will fall short. And maybe I will. But either way, He is enough. And there is grace in it all. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Reply
  3. Jennifer

    I certainly hope he can use my failures. I have so many from which to choose. =) Thanks, Jenni, for an inspiring post.

    Reply
    • Jenni DeWitt

      Embrace them all, right Jennifer?! Glad to connect with you here in Jennifer’s space.

      Reply
  4. Martha Orlando

    So nice to meet you, Jenni! Yes, I believe, too, that when we are weakest, God is strongest within us and can use even our imperfections to His great glory if we let Him. Blessings!

    Reply
    • Jenni DeWitt

      “If we let Him.” That is the key there. Oh that letting go, it can be a tough one!

      Reply
  5. Ally V

    So true! And such a good reminder. I’m also stuck in the hamster-wheel of trying to be perfect more often than I’d like to admit. I needed this reminder today!

    Reply
    • Jenni DeWitt

      So grateful to meet you here, Ally! I agree, I think I need a reminder to let go of perfection at least three times a day. Happy to be a part of handing you that message today. God bless!

      Reply
  6. Veronica

    Thanks for sharing Jenni. I too, at times, struggle with perfection.
    It takes calling on God and His shifting my perspective in order to see the bigger picture that He is enough. Ie. when you mentioned that you were developing anxiety due to the snow storm, worrying about what might happen to your husband. You realized you could call on God and then He shifted your focus from the negative of the storm to the appreciation of the beauty of the falling snow. This really registered with me. Thanks for sharing. I hope Cooper is doing well.

    Reply
    • Jenni DeWitt

      Thank you, Veronica! Yes that snowstorm represented a pivotal shift in my thinking, for sure. You are so sweet to ask about Cooper! He is doing well. We just celebrated the end of his three-year cancer treatment. Glorious!

      Reply
  7. Sue Donaldson

    I wrote on “failure” today too! I must be needing this. Always love the reminder of God’s shining brightly through my weakness. Thanks, Jenni and Jennifer

    Reply
    • Jenni DeWitt

      Nice to meet you, Sue! Yes, God has such an amazing way of redeeming our weakness.

      Reply
  8. Leah Adams

    What a lovely, and needed reminder. I, too, am one who can instantly feel shame over the less-than-perfect in my life. Jesus is teaching me that it is okay to not be perfect. Your post fits so well with that lesson.

    Reply
  9. Susan

    The Nester, Myquillyn Smith’s mantra is “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” That goes for interviews, writing, cooking, and just about everything – The only perfection we have as believers is HIS – but when we have that? We shine like stars for His glory! Visiting from Holly’s, I am #65 at Testimony Tuesday!

    Reply

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