My story of failing…and I’m okay with it.

This past weekend, we hosted the (in)RL conference at our church.  It was a weekend of amazing stories in the messy and the beautiful, intermingled with grace.

I sat with close friends along with new friends.  We listened to women broken and wounded, yet redeemed and grace-filled — women with stories of community.  My heart swelled with the whisperings of “I’m not alone in this mess.”

I allow the self-talk of “No one really wants to hear your story.”… “Your story is not really important in the whole scheme of things.”

So I hide my story… I bury it deep and trudge on alone.

This weekend, I listened to stories of redeemed brokenness; stories of women who have walked this road of striving; doing it alone and failing. I saw the cost of laying it out there, along with the freedom that comes through sharing your story and the healing that comes through community.

My story is one of measuring up…measuring up to an impossible height I set for myself. It’s a story of not having it all together and the struggle to let others into my world of imperfection.

My self-talk screams: “If it’s done correctly… with no mistakes… then it can’t fail.” But I’ve tried enough to know that in all my striving and in all my wanting-to-get-it-right, I still fail. And if I’m really honest… my biggest fear is failing.

  • Failing to measure up.
  • Failing as a wife
  • Failing as a mom
  • Failing to get it right.

I have set up my own impossible goals of “perfect” that in reality can not be reached. inRL table2 Growing up, I had beautiful, elegant and graceful examples of pastor’s wives. Never did I see their hair out-of-place or their legs dressed in pants. They were always positioned perfectly at the front of the church with their smile on and their matching even-keel temperament. Looking back now… and knowing the life of ministry… I’m sure they didn’t have it all together. At some point, their house was messy and their husband’s shirt was wrinkled.

Yet that picture wasn’t apparent to this little girl.

In my world, that’s how a pastor’s wife had it together. That was my picture of how it was done right…done perfectly. And in that picture-perfect world, I failed. I don’t blame these women. If I sat with them now, they’d tell me: “Rachel, I didn’t have it all together. I wasn’t perfect.”

Yet, it wasn’t until the last few years that I really wrapped my head around that whole picture-perfect mind game I was playing with myself… and losing terribly.

So in my story, I’m learning to be okay with failure. I’m learning it’s okay to not have it all together. I’m learning there is beauty in the mess and there’s grace for every moment of weakness.

I’m going to fail… and I have failed….many times over.

I haven’t always been a loving wife and my kids have heard this mama speak words in anger more than once.  I have been unkind and I have been ungracious. Yet I’m learning that in each failure, His grace is strong and His love is constant.

I am much harder on myself than anyone else is towards me. No one is speaking words of failure to me…it’s my own self talk. So I’m learning to quiet the self-talk and turn up the God-talk…the talk where God speaks words of love to His daughter.

I’m learning it’s okay to not have it all together. I don’t have to be perfect.

There is beauty in this mess.  And in the smack-dab middle of it…He loves me.

That’s my story. 

It’s taken me awhile… but I’m okay with it.

It’s a story of my imperfection meeting His perfect mercy.

It’s a story of His beautiful grace in the middle of my ugly mess…and I’m okay with it.

23 thoughts on “My story of failing…and I’m okay with it.

  1. Thank you for sharing this! Impossible standards…trying to live up…failing. I so relate to that. I’m not a pastor’s wife but I know you’ve got a tough job. May God bless you as you seek to obey Him!

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  2. So much of my story sounds so similar to yours – so grateful that we can be perfectly loved by God in all of our imperfections..and those failures are places where He can shine through the brightest 🙂

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  3. Your trust and submission in the Almighty God is so relevant in your story.
    No one of us is worthy–but He loves us and uses us and perfects us for His Honour and Glory!
    Your ministry to others is so evident! You have left self behind and reached out to others!
    Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus througout all
    generations, forever and ever! Amen. Eph. 3:21

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  4. I love the new design of your blog, Rachel! This is so beautiful and I can definitely relate. I’m constantly setting up impossible standards for myself, then getting disappointed with myself when I fail. Your post reminded me of one I read around the first of the year from Ann Voskamp saying to “fall forward.” We fail, but we can still move forward and learn from each mistake. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. What a valuable lesson we must all learn if we are to enjoy our gift of life. Not having grown up in the church and knowing a pastor’s wife, I didn’t have this expectation when I married my husband, a pastor. I don’t play the piano, I don’t sing well, I worked full-time outside of church—I didn’t do anything a pastor’s wife was “supposed” to do!

    Learning to be comfortable with who the Lord made me to be helped me to rise above all the negative talk about me regarding all the things I didn’t do that I was, apparently expected to do and to do what He’s called me to do. It’s been many years now and, while I have failed many times in this, I learn something from each new failure and apply it to the next situation that I may grow and mature as a result of it.

    Sounds like you have done lots of growing and maturing in the Lord also, Rachel. Knowing His grace is strong and his love is constant helps us to get through those challenging times. May the Lord bless you abundantly as you follow Him and your heart!

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    • Yes, Kerry…growing in leaps and bounds…and sometimes in stumbles! 🙂 I like what you said, “…while I have failed many times in this, I learn something from each new failure and apply it to the next situation.”

      I’m hoping to constantly learn so I can consistently grow.

      Thanks for sharing!

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