For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
I came across an amazing article title by Saar Oran, “Don’t Just Accept Failure, Expect It!” We live in a society where admitting failure is a sign of weakness. It is as if good, strong, successful people have the capacity to be perfect. You see it in certain self-help books that tell you to dress for success; walk with purpose; stand tall; and never admit failure!
This emotional dishonesty is antithetical to the Christian faith. We understand that Christ alone was perhaps the only human being to be perfect, and he was also fully Divine. Yet, we get so surprised and angry when other people fail us. Perhaps even worse, we get overwhelmed when we admit our own failures, even to ourselves. Failure can even be a gift, because it helps us understand our fundamental need for God. Failure helps us realize we cannot live life meaningfully without our Triune God.
Living life with an expectation that failure can, and should, be overcome is painful and fatalistic. Overcoming this malady is necessary for one to live a healthy, faithful, and enriching life. Begin first with yourself. Before you try to “fix” someone else, remember the old phrase, “Physician, heal thyself.” Work on addressing your fear of failure in your own life. Begin to recognize, rationally, the impossibility of anyone living beyond failure.
Finally, pray for God to bring wholeness that doesn’t require perfection. Pray for God to bless you with the gift of grace. Failure is not a death sentence. Grace overcomes failure. God understands our inability to be perfect. God doesn’t condemn us for our failures, but simply calls on us to trust even more. Begin this process of cleansing yourself of the burden that is perfectionism. Your faith will become stronger, and it will make for a happier you.