I bet I’ve had a thousand conversations with people who reject the idea of experiencing a hopeful and meaningful life because of their epic failures. They don’t think about what might be possible in their lives because they can’t get past the things they’ve done or get beyond their real or perceived inadequacies.
We tend to see God through the shattered perspective of our flawed humanity, and that’s a big problem. With a severely damaged self-image, we generally have a broken God-image too.
In fact, let’s be honest, some of us believe God is great and all-powerful, but we can’t imagine Him doing anything astonishing through our lives. We sing worship songs about His awesomeness, but we believe God is limited in what He can do with screw-ups like us.
A considerable part of the dilemma is that we like to create gods in our image. We make gods out of the rich and famous. We elevate leaders (including politicians and pastors) to god-like status. We put them on a pedestal somewhere prominent in our lives, but in the end, it’s a puny little god we’ve made to worship rather than Almighty God.
Sadly, if our God is too tiny or too human (like us), then our faith and confidence in Him will be too small as well.
Deep down we want to believe that God can do anything, but we’re pretty sure He has limits when it comes to us. Time or space might not constrain God, but a craftsman is only as good as the material he has to work with, right?
And we know what we are.
- More mud than marble.
- More sandstone than diamond.
- More broken than whole.
In case you’re wondering, I’m not a big fan of self-confidence. Despite what the positive thinking gurus have to say, I’m not okay (and neither are you).
I can sit in a lotus position for hours chanting, “I am good. I am awesome. My life force in the universe matters. I am good. I am awesome. There is nothing I can’t do.” But in my gut, I know I’m not that good. In fact, I know I’m pretty messed up at times.
So, what’s the alternative to emotional self-flogging or self-confident bragging? The substitute for self-confidence is God-confidence.
In other words, I must put my confidence and hope in God and His ability to accomplish anything even through a cracked and broken pot like me.
The god I’ve created in my mind has limits. The God of the universe does not.
I am broken. He is not.
I have failed. He has not and will not. In fact, working with people who are demoted to the scratch-and-dent pile of life is God’s specialty.
Someone once said, “Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving shame.” How cool is that and how kind of our amazing God.
So, the good news about your epic failures is simply this: God’s not going to give up on you, and whatever you’ve done is not the end of your story.
Not when He’s in the picture . . . and He is.