Doubts About Failure–or Success?
Have you ever suspected that you (or a loved one) are not only a little afraid of failure, but apprehensive of success, as well? I have. Self-doubt and the related thoughts and behaviors are no fun for us in today’s economic atmosphere. Neither were they for those who lived when Jesus walked the earth.
Exhausted and discouraged from working (fishing) all night with no success, Simon and his crew decided to take Jesus’ suggestion, even though it seemed pointless. They tried again. Immediately, fish came from seemingly nowhere. They signaled another boat. Filled to the brim with the catch, both boats started to sink with the weight of so many fish.
An amazed Simon Peter begged, “Lord, please get out of here. I’m not good enough for You.”
“Don’t worry, Peter” said Jesus. “From now on, you’ll be working with Me.”
Some of us, like Peter, focus on our failures and withdraw. “Be assured that the voices of shame and self-condemnation that speak in our minds with such harshness are not of God,” writes Marsha Crockett in her book Break Through. “These voices are the illusions others have spoken into us. When we accept what they say as the complete truth about ourselves, they keep us from God.”
Peter feared getting close to Jesus because he listened to a faulty inner message. Yet Jesus calmed his fears with words of assurance: “Don’t be afraid to get to know Me and trust Me. I have a plan. We’ll work together, and it’ll be just fine.” (Read Luke 5:8, 10)
Today’s Prayer: Lord, like You did for Peter, please calm my self-doubt.
Making It Personal: Take a step toward God today. He’s right there.
Adapted from my devotional book, It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life. On sale right now for $5.20. Good time to stock up on gifts for friends and family.
Where was I on 9/11?
My thoughts were in the Middle East even before I caught a glimpse of the smoking towers on TV. I traveled regularly to Jerusalem and the surrounding villages, as well as cities in Jordan, Egypt and Kyrgyzstan, because I worked for a relief and development organization with projects and staff in these areas.
That fateful morning I was in my apartment in Chandler, Arizona, getting ready for work, but a part of me was already at the office planning for my next overseas trip and that day’s correspondence with my beloved colleagues and the Arab families we worked with.
“Joan, come here. Quickly,” shouted Richard from the living room. We both stared at the television screen in disbelief. Time seemed to stand still. We sat on the sofa and held hands in silence. What was happening?
Finally we made it to the office. Emails and calls of sympathy from our Middle Eastern friends poured in. They expressed their sorrow with words like “tragedy, pain, sorry, senseless, unbelievable.” They grieved with us. For American’s loss.
When I talked to my three-year old granddaughter that day, she asked, “Why do bad men throw airplanes into tall buildings, Grandma?”
Why, indeed!? In the days and weeks that followed, I found no adequate response.
As usual, I spoke to groups about our work among the poor Arab families,about the schools we supported in remote villages and the churches we empowered in many cities and towns. Always being careful how I shared the amazing good-news stories because I didn’t want to endanger the lives of those working there. Still don’t.
Today as I recall that horrific act on what started out as an ordinary day nine years ago, my memories drop with a thud into my heavy heart. I can’t get my granddaughter’s question out of my mind: Why do bad men throw airplanes into tall buildings?
God, help us. We all need You.
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.