When a Failure Feels too Big to Fix

When a Failure Feels too Big to Fix

I had failed.

Big time.

My failure felt huge, as if someone had come into our backyard with a backhoe and dug a hole as large as our house. And now I was sitting by the hole—broken, beaten down, discouraged—trying to fill this huge hole back up with one teaspoon of dirt at a time.

For me, this feeling of having failed big time—so big that I couldn’t imagine any hope of repair—happened in my coaching business.

Have you felt failure?

Maybe you’ve felt this way, too.

  • Maybe you felt defeated in a relationship with someone you loved. Now you are no longer speaking.
  • Maybe you’re blaming yourself for your child’s poor choices.
  • Maybe you tried something new at work only to have it backfire.

The exact details of my failure aren’t important. Let’s just say they involve regretting a large financial investment, hurting from many misunderstandings, and feeling totally discarded. As if all of a sudden, my work and I didn’t matter any more.

A failure too big?

As I processed the pain and loss, I began to change my thoughts about this event, which originally felt like a failure “too big to fix.”

Changing my perspective on “success” and “failure” actually helped me to gain more momentum than if the “failure” had never happened.

For years, I wrongly believed success in business meant I would reach a point when I no longer “failed”.

Do you feel this way about parenting, work or relationships? Are you just waiting for the day when you make your last mistake?

Here are a few new ways I’ve learned to look at failure from studying high achievers.

  • They accept making mistakes is a natural part of succeeding.
  • They learn from their mistakes.
  • They do not allow the fear of failure to hold them back.

God never stopped working in my failure

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably way too hard on yourself when you make a mistake.

Maybe you feel like you’re sitting by a huge hole. A failure of your own that feels too big to fix! Trying to fill it back up with a teaspoon.

God honors the smallest thing we do. It’s as if He comes in behind us and throws in shovelfuls of dirt when we aren’t even looking. Over time, the hole fills back up.

One Small Win: Today, let go of putting so much pressure on yourself by expecting a “failure-free” life. Instead, accept when you make mistakes or even fail, God still works.

Success isn’t all “up to you.”

Watch and be astounded at what I will do. For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” Habakkuk 1:5

How does it change things for you to realize that failure is a necessary part of success?


Mary Lou Caskey trains Christian coaches and communicators to influence hearts through the power of story. If you want to become a transformative story-teller, click here to connect with Mary Lou and get her free quiz, “Is It the Best Time to Share a Personal Story?”

 

 

How to Overcome Unrelenting Struggles & Bitterness in your Life

How to Overcome Unrelenting Struggles & Bitterness in your Life

I struggle with bitterness.

It’s not something I love to admit, but it’s my reality.

Struggling with the same issue over and over is like being drawn into the warm glow of a campfire only to realize you’ve actually stepped into a raging inferno – again. It’s ugly. It’s exhausting. And it’s overwhelming.

Holding my bitterness captive

When God brought my struggle with bitterness to light in my early 20s, I took hold of a simple, yet powerful way to combat it: a notecard with a Bible verse written on it.

I know, I know, this seems too simple to have any type of impact. But let me share with you how it helped me hold my bitterness captive.

In my mid-20s, several of my friends married. They found their Prince Charming’s and set off into the sunset. I sludged away at work and the single life. It wasn’t where I wanted to be.

I had yet another friend get engaged, and I was asked to be an honorary bridesmaid (yes, not a real bridesmaid, but a JV bridesmaid). I was still honored to have been asked, so I agreed. One of my other single girlfriends and I fulfilled our bridesmaid responsibilities together for our mutual friend. However, over the course of our friend’s engagement, I noticed my friend’s snide remarks and expressing her desire for the wedding to be over. She was cold, calloused, and angry. In other words, she was bitter.

And it made me sad.

The ravaging of bitterness

I had an up-close-and-personal view of bitterness and how it ravaged her. And I knew I didn’t want that to be me.

It was after this I claimed scripture over this sin in my life.

Enter the notecard with a verse written on it.

When faced with circumstances that caused my bitterness to rear its ugly head, I took a notecard and wrote a scripture on the notecard that specifically pertained to my struggle. Then I carried it on me. Literally. I folded the card and kept it in my back pocket. And whenever those ugly feelings of bitterness seeped up, I whipped out my notecard and read the verse over and over.

Eroding bitterness

And you know what happened?

As those words permeated my heart and mind, bitterness began to erode. Suddenly, my bitter heart was now one defined by joy and peace because of the transforming power of scripture.

One Small Win: If you’re stuck in the overwhelm of bitterness – or any other sin that seems impossible to overcome – get your pen and notecard, then find the Bible verse that will be your battle cry. When those moments of temptation arise, divert your eyes and heart to the notecard with truth written on it. Soak up the truth and walk in it!

So, what’s your struggle? Grab a pen, notecard and your Bible and take your first step toward claiming victory!

Here are a few scripture recommendations if you need to let go, move forward or live boldly!


bitternessKate Hollimon delights in helping women learn their God-given purpose while growing in Christ through the study of scripture. Kate is a speaker and blogger who designed the Live Your Purpose Workshop to help women discover their purpose to glorify God. Kate is married to her husband Matthew of seven years and together they have two kiddos – a boy and a girl – and are in the thick of sippy cups, potty training, temper tantrums and peanut butter and jellies. Connect with Kate at www.katehollimon.com.

Withdraw When You’re Overwhelmed

Withdraw When You’re Overwhelmed

I was sick when I was pregnant and not just a little bit. Doctors diagnosed me with hyperemesis, which I loosely translate into “throwing your guts up day and night.”

When I got pregnant the second time, people assured me every pregnancy is different. And they were right. The second time was worse.

I sank into despair

For a woman who had led a largely sheltered and happy life, the sickness and helplessness overwhelmed me. Even though I knew the suffering would end with a blessing, my baby boys, I drifted from discouragement to despair. And then I sank. I also followed a harmful pattern that made everything worse. For the first time since I had fallen madly in love with Jesus, I didn’t pray. I didn’t read my Bible. Instead, I withdrew from God.

Just a month after my second son was born, I developed a close friendship with a woman named Linda whose sons were the same age as mine. We were both sick during our second pregnancy, but her nausea had a different source. It was caused by the chemo she was receiving for a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.

Faced with a terminal illness, a new baby, and a grieving family, my friend didn’t react to overwhelmed by pushing God away. She drew close to Him.

In her truly overwhelming circumstances, she administered David’s remedy given in Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (NIV, emphasis added)

What my friend taught me about seeking God

Instead of withdrawing from God like I did, Linda’s secret was that she withdrew each day with God. Linda brought all her emotions to God and let Him help her. She didn’t try to fake cheerfulness in His presence or avoid Him completely. Instead, she trusted Him with her feelings and found Him to be her refuge.

If you’ve made my mistake and developed a pattern of withdrawing from God instead drawing close, I have an action step for us to take. Let’s set a reminder on our phone or a write a note on our calendar each day at a specific time that says, “Pour out your heart to Him.” When our daily time arrives, let’s take the next five minutes to bring our honest feelings to God and ask Him to help us with them.

Creating a new pattern of withdrawing to Jesus in overwhelmed times instead of hiding from Him means we access His power, strength and peace to face the day. We’ll not only build deeper trust in God, but just like my friend Linda, we’ll strengthen and inspire others.

One Small Win: In the past, have I responded to overwhelmed by withdrawing from God or with Him? What steps can I take to either change or strengthen that pattern?


withdrawAmy Carroll is a speaker and writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She’s the author of Breaking Up with Perfect as well as the director and coach of Next Step Speaker Services. Amy and her husband live in lovely Holly Springs, NC with a bossy miniature dachshund. You can find her on any given day texting her two sons at college, typing at her computer, reading a book, or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner. Share life with Amy at www.amycarroll.org and on Facebook.

The Radical Dance of Celebration and the Sacred

I was a guest at Girlfriends in God and wanted to share it with you today!

For years, I’ve heard the same message in sermons, Bible studies, magazine articles, and on social media: Christmas is not about the gifts, decorating, how the Christmas ham is prepared, parties or even Christmas cookies. We are all supposed to stop doing All. The. Things. and simply reflect in the glow of our Charlie Brown Christmas tree and spend the entire month rereading the story of Christ’s birth from Luke.

And for all those years, I’ve felt guilty about being madly in love with the “stuff” of Christmas. I love having friends and family over to eat, drink (hot chocolate) and be merry. I enjoy filling our grown kids’ stockings with care. I adore planning for our family’s Christmas Eve dinner. I even get a thrill from sending out (and receiving) Christmas cards.

While the world may go overboard when it comes to “celebrating” the season (just watch any video of a Wal-Mart opening on Black Friday to see what I’m talking about . . .), in many ways, I’ve felt guilty for finding happiness in any other way than attending church and singing Christmas carols. I know we are to have joy at Christmastime, but does God also care about our happiness?

Read more at Girlfriends in God!

Enlarging Your Faith: Never Say Never

Enlarging Your Faith: Never Say Never

enlarging your faith

Shortly after getting married, in fact it was on our honeymoon, when I slipped into my flirty pajamas, jumped into bed next to my husband and exclaimed, “OK, I’m ready!” and he asked, “For what?”

I replied with the obvious response, “To pray together … you know, a couple that prays together, stays together? That is what my mom always says.” To which he replied, “I will NEVER pray with you, that just isn’t something I do. It’s personal and between me and God.”

To be fair, maybe my timing was a little off. But I absolutely deflated. My spirit was crushed. Not only did I feel deprived of the coveted marriage ideal that couples are supposed to pray together, it was worse than that. I felt totally duped by my new husband. After all, we prayed together during our courtship.

I was devastated. Something so clearly beneficial to our marriage was rejected. My parents prayed together! And I was certain I fell in love with someone who was going to pray with me. It didn’t seem right!  I knew God and I knew He loved me. I knew this was the man He meant for me to marry. He moved mountains to bring us together.

I come from a long line of prayer warriors. I like to think my sweet grandma lived to 103 because she had prayers God still wanted her to be praying. Growing up, when situations arose, my parents always told me to “just pray about it.”

The fact my husband and I didn’t pray together other than to bless our meals unsettled me and rocked my faith. I didn’t want anyone to know because I was certain every other Christian couple prayed together. It was like a cardinal rule for a good Christian marriage.

I loved my husband and I wanted to stay together. But I didn’t like the situation. Honestly, the only thing I could do was “just pray about it.” Instead of “Run Forrest, Run!” It became, “Pray Julie, Pray!” Originally, my prayers were that my husband would pray with me because I knew better and you NEVER say never, especially to God.

I truly believed Matthew 21:22.

You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

What I received by praying was far different than what I thought I wanted.

Through the process of praying without ceasing, God changed my heart and He changed my prayers. My heart turned from criticizing my husband, to seeking to understand my husband. My prideful prayers of me telling God how my husband needed to change eventually evolved into prayers of loving my husband for who he has been created to be.

Through the years, my prayers became more powerful. My husband witnessed first-hand how God faithfully answers even my smallest requests.

A few seasons back, I went through some personal challenges. I was really struggling, and I needed help. I asked my husband to pray for me and he did, without hesitation. He also prayed for me without my asking, just because he sensed I needed him to pray.

I cherish those moments when he pulled me close and prayed over me the most beautiful, loving prayers. Those times assured me how much God loves me and how my faithfulness and prayers honored Him and the man He gave me.

In the past, my husband and I have had this running joke that the first thing out of my husband’s mouth is “no.” This may have been what plagued him on our honeymoon, but I always say, “never say never” because he is definitely not the same man I am married to now.

He has since challenged himself to say “yes” more often. In fact, he took his “yes” a step further and ordered “promise cards” printed with the words: “because I said I would.” He hands these out at random times to people. This year for my birthday my husband gave me a promise card. It was the best gift a wife like me could ever receive. The words on the card said “I will pray with my wife. Because I said I would.”

enlarging your faith

Over twelve years ago my prayers stemmed from my own selfish motivation to change my husband, but God used them to change me. My consistent and persistent prayers changed the trajectory of our marriage for the better. I never know how or when God will answer my prayers.

But as my faith has grown, so has my trust in God and “knowing” no longer matters. I only do what I am called, which is to obediently seek Him. Today I teach other women how to pray for their husbands as this has simply become an act of obedience in response to an ever-loving God.

enlarging your faithJulie Landreth has a passion for healthy and thriving relationships–especially in marriage and friendship. She is a speaker and a “wife coach” who loves sharing with women her passion for prayer and ways to actively cultivate a thriving marriage.  She leads a growing number of women in San Jose, CA through her curriculum: Consistency and Persistency: The Art of Praying for your Husband. Having been married 12 years, she and her husband have cultivated a marriage filled with intentional love, effective communication, sustainable fun, and a date night every Friday night for the last 9 years. She also finds deliberate ways to spend quality time with her 9-year-old son who shares many of her artistic talents. In addition, she is a freelance photographer and designer. 

If you would like to hear more from Julie and receive 5 Days of Prayers to get you started praying for your husband, please visit her and sign up at
http://eepurl.com/cmn9CX.


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Find out more: http://www.kathilipp.com/clutter-free-bible-study/

 

Episode #224- I Want it All with Gwen Smith

Episode #224- I Want it All with Gwen Smith

I Want it All

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I want it all

Saying I want it all sounds so worldly. We usually associate it with the wanting of money, a nice home, a great job, a fantastic husband, and loyal friends … the list goes on.

But what if “ALL” actually is the cry of our hearts to have all that God has made available to us — strength, hope, joy, love and peace? In this inspiring interview with I Want it All author, Gwen Smith, Kathi uncovers the passion behind I want it all and the promises found in the Bible for exactly that, ALL! Gwen shares the moment she discovered just where God was taking her with the writing of this book, as well as the pain of watching her father’s battle with cancer. Discover what ALL can actually look like in your own life.

Weigh in

Finally, we’d love to hear your thoughts on wanting it all. What does I want it all mean in your life and what can you pursue with even more purpose after hearing this episode?

Want more?

This podcast episode reminded us a lot of an episode we did about more than a year ago with called I Want God.