Finding Faith in Failure
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.