When you feel like a failure
How to stop being a perfectionist
We hiked up our favorite mountain and I haven’t felt worthless like that in years…
I was completely dead.
What used to feel like a cake walk, now was like trudging through sinking sand.
All those years of track, half marathons & Spartan races – felt completely nonexistent.
I knew that in the past so much of my worth was wrapped up in my performance. I wanted my body to look perfect, my grades to the best, my degree to speak for itself and my career to boost my morale in the world.
I’m a recovering perfectionist, okay..
But to be honest, I don’t know if “perfectionist” is the right word. It’s more like a recovering addict of trying to prove herself to the world.
But I didn’t realize that I was still harboring those feelings. That I still felt worthless when I figured out I couldn’t run the way I used to, or fit into my college jeans, or when the truth of my first job out of college is simply just a humbling reality of being a completely disposable “millenial”.
It’s no secret that I’m a complete, self proclaimed Control-Freak.
Which is why I obsessively threw myself into fitness in the first place. I just loved the idea of having (what I thought was) complete control over something: myself & my body.
But the irony is, nowadays, I’m lucky if I can squeeze in a 20 minute workout a few times a week.
And girlfriend, these healthy thighs are living PROOF.
I like to call them my secret weapons – my built in body armor.
But let me tell ya, there was a day that I would’ve looked at these thighs and thought: “wow, you failure…. how could you ‘let yourself go’ like this?”
But ya know, I’ve learned to tell myself to shut up, and let God intervene with truth-bombs.
I would get so wrapped up in trying to prove myself, that the fog would get so thick and I was never able to see the good around me.
It wasn’t until I realized that I had no control that I finally started to see “success”.
I wouldn’t find any peace in my life until I actively stopped white-knuckling my job, my body, and my marriage.
And honestly, my idea of what I thought my life was supposed to look like.
You see, I was terrified to surrender my “control” and my rationally planned future to God – because hello duh, this my body & my life, obviously I know what’s best for me.
But I’ve come to realize: when I try to do things my way, I feel like one of those cartoon characters that tries to run away in my own direction, but the bigger & stronger cartoon character just face palms the little guy on the forehead while he exhausts himself from running in place but ultimately going nowhere.
When we operate out of a “my way or the highway” mentality we will literally fail every time & end up going nowhere.
God genuinely loves us too much to let us succeed in our own plans before consulting Him first and asking for His direction.
It seems so inspiring to get on social media & see someone posting beautiful bible verses or motivational quotes while going through a struggle – but the true test is found when we are actually walking through it.
And that’s not always beautiful, motivating, or pretty.
It’s messy, it’s refining, and it down right sucks.
But God uses all things for Good.
There is no struggle, trial, or tribulation gone to waste. Every struggle we face is accompanied by a blessing – saving us from ourselves & making us stronger and better versions of ourselves.
What about you: Do you see a constant pattern of defeat and failure in your life?
Do you hate the way your body looks? Are you unhappy in your marriage/relationships? Is your career a dead-end bust?
Try surrendering control of your plans, intentions, and expectations.
But to be honest: surrender isn’t natural for us.
We were born with the desire to gratify our wants, desires, and needs.
We have to throw our hands up & admit that we don’t know what’s best in order to see success.
And that’s when God moves the most.
Give your plans to God – operate out of His will, walking in-sync with that He has planned for you.
Surrendering what you thought was best.
It isn’t until we operate out of a place of gratitude and eternal worth that we will ever see any “success”.
For years, I strived to be healthy & fit FOR MYSELF ONLY. Many years of defeat until I realized my method was messed up. It was flawed.
Sure, my body changed, and I saw “success” but all I saw was continued failure & never measuring up to my expectations.
I had no joy in my success because all I saw was my flaws – and when we’re so focused on living life for ourselves – it will never enough.
But when we live for God, life slows down – Grace sweetens the journey – and we see how beautiful living life for someone other than ourselves is.
God graciously changed my heart to see that His way is best.
He’s become my personal trainer, my life coach, and my mentor in all areas that I had to-do lists and deadlines for.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m still tempted to back-slide into the old “my way or the highway” mentality.
Especially with my career.
I have a heart and a passion for so many things other than what I’m actually getting paid to do.
And part of me gets so frustrated with God that he’s had me circling this mountain for so long, but it’s not until I willingly put my “yes” on the table and trust him saying “Okay, God, it’s all you – your will be done” that I’ll be able to move forward.
Deuteronomy 2:3 “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north”.
When I get so focused on proving my worth through my performance, my career, my marriage, etc- I see little to no success. I don’t feel creative, I don’t feel inspired, I don’t feel confident, I only want to gain glory for ME.
But when I throw my plans in the trash & focus on Christ, HE fills my heart with the words to say.
We will not see lasting success or have joy when we operate out of self indulgence.
We were designed to age, wrinkle, and become weak.
Because god never wanted us to be enamored with ourselves – but with Him.
When the going gets tough, we’re literally designed to press into our maker.
God isn’t some foreign object that is untouchable.
He is so intimately woven into our hearts & souls that we’re blind to it.
You don’t recognize your own heart beat because it’s so natural, it’s always been there.
God, is the same way.
He won’t force you to love Him, call on Him, or let Him into your life.
But when we operate in the opposite direction of His will, we will feel the pressure.
Just like when we don’t eat right, don’t sleep enough, and stress over our lives: our bodies ache, we gain weight, and we feel the pressure of an unhealthy lifestyle.
That’s why when I start to look at ME ME ME and how I can gain glory, it starts weighs on me (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually).
I feel angry, beat up, and like a straight up FAILURE.
Because truthfully, our output will never be ENOUGH for us.
There will always be more weight to lose, more followers to gain, and more promotions to chase after.
But when I look to Christ, and trust that He works in and through me when I include Him in every detail of my life, THAT is when I see success – because it is THEN that my success is measured by my obedience and my amount of Trust in Him (not my level of proving myself to others).
God is gracious enough to not let us be fully satisfied in anything but Him.
So try putting your “yes” on the table.
Let the big man drive.
Just sit back, turn your butt-warmers on, and enjoy the ride, Sister.
I hope you take these few things away
- Ask for God’s guidance in all things.
- Lean on Him when you’re struggling – don’t try to control your way into feeling better.
- Let glorifying Him be your intention behind wanting to succeed.
There’s so much more peace in the surrender than there is in the fight.
And while sometimes I wish I could hike up our favorite mountain with ease, I’m thankful for the moments that correct my heart and point me back to Him.
Because no level of fitness, no size of jeans, and no career-path could ever fulfill the deepest need of my heart.
Comment below some areas that you want to see more success in and how you think you can surrender them to God.
ps- if you liked this post, I know you’d enjoy: Feeling Like a Failure After A Cheat Meal? Get back on Track [5 Easy Steps] or even 5 tips for when you’re struggling w/ body image