A Sense of Failure

By Brenda Jank

Previously published Jan 28, 2014

Tucked within the overload of our lives is a lurking assailant that makes quick work of our joy and hope. It’s the incessant feeling of failure, whether it’s real or perceived.

Ever been there? It’s about done me in.

Spread too thin, there are no resources, time or energy to do anything well. We are our own worst critic. It’s a weight that is never lifted. We are well aware of what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. Our 24/7 media sees to that. Climb the corporate ladder in 10 easy steps. Eat more veggies. Read to your kids. Exercise 4 days a week. Date your spouse. Reduce your debt. Coach little league. Save the world. You get the idea.

Little in our lives makes a passing grade. I’ve felt this working on staff at a church full-time pulling 50-60 hours each week. I’ve felt it as a mom through every season: stay-at-home, homeschooling, work-outside-the-home. It doesn’t matter what hat we wear, the sense of failure is a one-size-fits-all equal opportunity deal. No one is immune.

No one, but Jesus. With his ears and heart riveted to the Father, he operated under God’s marching orders, every step he took. With that intimacy and level of obedience, there was no room to feel like a failure. Ever.

Will we ever feel failure-free? Not this side of heaven, but I do think we can reduce the power of its vice-like grip on our souls.

Next week, we will dive into the one thing that has harnessed and contained the monstrous sense of failure I’ve been burdened by in my life. I pray it will be a gift that alters the contours of the New Year before us. But first, am I alone on this one, or is it universal?

Is a “sense of failure” common, relentless or does it only rear its ugly head at certain times in life? Who’s more prone? Men or women? Young or old or mid-life? Certain personality types?

I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to tease this one out. Where do you feel it the most? Health and habits? Family life? Your vocation? Spiritual growth? Relational stability?


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6 thoughts on “A Sense of Failure”

  1. Thank you, Brenda. At 54 years of age, I am slowly realizing that a sense of failure has been plaguing me for most of my life and has stolen my joy.
    I believe none of us are immune, but type As make it more debilitating in their lives than others. I look forward to finding out what you have learned.

  2. Thank you for your post Brenda! I was just hanging my head at dinner talking about the prognosis of failure at my job, and feeling like I’m failing everyone around me in the wake. It’s good to know I’m not alone. It’s also good to hear that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side!

    Blessings, Tami

    • Tami –

      You landed on my heart this week!
      And I was wondering how you are doing.
      Man – God works and connects..
      Can you send me a quick hi via email?

      • Brenda, Thank you for thinking of me! I read your post about your son a week or so ago and was so touched! You’re such a flag of confidence in the Lord for me and so many! I’m learning with so many that the road is tough, and tougher, but His grace is sufficient for each day!

        Blessings, Tami

        “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them… We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

      • Hi Brenda! I’m not keeping up well and don’t recall if I responded to your kind message. It’s a rough time, but I’m hanging in there, and thankfulness has been key!
        Blessings, Tami

        “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them… We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”


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