Failure came on like a virus this week, only instead of the runny nose, headache, and feverish brow it was the self hate, the loathing, the sense of inadequacy.
And there was no Tylenol PM or cold medicine for this virus. Just tears and sadness and “if only’s”.
I felt uniquely unqualified.
The tears started early morning when the alarm went off and I was bone tired. They turned into anger when I realized I hadn’t planned well and would be late to the meeting where I was expected. Continuing through the day every where I looked were signs of my inadequacy — work undone, home in need of organizing, emails never responded to, and reminders that I am inadequate as a mom.
I was miserable in my virus of failure. The tears brought a cathartic release to the pent-up feelings. While they trickled in the morning, they poured like a monsoon rain in the afternoon. With each tear came a confession of failure.
These times, during these viruses, when Tylenol or Advil have little effect, this is when I need the voice of God, when I need the truth of God. Truth about who I am, and truth about who He is.
And truth is that I join the “march of the unqualified”, that group of people I read about who were inadequate, who failed. The King who stayed home from battle and slept with another man’s wife; the prophet who ran from the call of God and ended up in the belly of a whale; the man raised in the Pharaoh’s household who said “I can’t do it! I can’t speak! Let my brother speak for me”; the woman who said “Let’s trick your dad into thinking you are your brother so that you can get the birthright”.*
All these, uniquely unqualified, somehow survived the virus of failure, and were met by God, were used by God.
None of my circumstances have changed, I still feel the after effects of this virus. And just like after a fever, I am weak. But the tears have changed. Instead of self loathing and inadequacy I cry out to God for his love and his adequacy and exhausted I kneel in confession.
And with confession come this truth – that when the virus of failure envelopes me, He who does not fail surrounds me.
*Biblical characters – David, Jonah, Moses, Rebekah