Do You Feel Like a Failure?

My sweet friend wrote to me and confessed she feels she is failing at every aspect of her life. How often we all feel that way! There are days when our life feels wasted and fruitless, we fail to live up to our own expectations. In truth, nothing I do in and of my self will be fruitful. It is only Christ, through us, who can bring life, fruitfulness, and meaning to what we do. Our body is dead and the works of the body are dead, lifeless. (Romans 8:10)

The first place to start is by examining our definition of success or failure. What are we measuring ourselves against? What goals or expectations have we put on ourselves?

When people evaluate their life and decide they aren’t measuring up, what standard are they using?

  • How much money they have?
  • The cars they drive?
  • How much patience they have with others?
  • The state of their relationships?

If you are struggling with feeling like a failure, I would encourage you to complete this sentence:

I would consider my life to be successful if:  _______________________________________________________________________________

Take some time to ponder your answer. Examine your deepest sub-conscious expectations about your life. Let this sit for a day or two. When feelings of failure come up ask yourself why. What expectations about your abilities, attitudes, or behaviors are you not meeting?  When you take the time to catch yourself in the moment of frustration and really assess why you are feeling the way you do, you might be surprised at the answers.

Now, compare your answer to God’s expectation.

God is not interested in what we are trying to do. He is interested in who we are. His idea of a successful, fruitful life is one spent in the pursuit of Him. Our goal should be to work on 3 areas: our relationship with the Lord, our obedience to His will, and serving others.

I like Charles Stanley’s definition of a successful Christian life:

The continuing achievement of becoming the person God wants you to be and accomplishing the goals God has helped you set.”

If we put our energies into growing in faith, virtue, temperance, godliness, patience, knowledge of God, brotherly kindness and love, He’ll take care of guiding us to do the work He wants to do through us.

We might not ever see the fruit of our efforts. We may feel like we are failing in every area of life, but it’s not for us to judge. If our hearts are fully dedicated to knowing Him more, making our lives a living sacrifice, and loving others, then we can rest assured, in God’s eyes, we are a success.



About Susan Scott


  1. Thanks for the reminder!
    The areas I want to do better in are things that I know God wants me to pursue. The problem comes in when I don’t accept my own human weakness and I expect myself to be perfect in the “big areas” of being a wife and mother. I know this is a form of self righteousness. And I’m not going to add that to my pile of guilt! I’m just going to give it all to God and ask him to keep teaching me!

  2. There are many who, of course, would say that it’s lompssibie to believe in God’s existence, but not in the bible. However, I’ve made the same differentiation. As a 38 year believer who attended for 35 of those years before leaving the church, I know it’s not fun being in the apostate category. It’s rather frightening. However, I’m more frightened of going back to the illusionary safe zone. On the topic of divine inspiration of the bible then, I remind myself that no mortal man has the qualifications to authenticate or deauthenticate the divinity of a literary work, not even a Nicean council of world-renowned scholars with an agenda. I know God exists and hope to understand him better before I die. I try to remember always that this is a personal pursuit, and that the church isn’t a reliable resource in this pursuit. Thanks for being honest with us and reminding us all that rejecting the things we were taught about the bible does not equal a total relinquishment of God.

  3. Susan Scott says:

    Beth, you are a blessing! I think the thing that most pleases God, more than our efforts to do good things, is our willingness to just keep turning back to Him and seeking Him. That is all He asks.

  4. Susan Scott says:

    I appreciate your comments,Azhiejach, but I did not say anything about rejecting the bible. The bible is the inerrant Word of God. It is one of the predominate ways through which He speaks to His people. God can and does reveal Himself to us in other ways; for example through His creation and occasionally through direct revelation. However, any revelation of God should be measured against the truth of the Bible. If it does not agree, then the Word stands as the ultimate truth and our “revelation” needs to be questioned. You are correct in saying the church is not always a reliable authority in matters of the truth of God. Churches are led by fallible humans and congregants who chose to blindly trust their leader rather than taking the time to search the scriptures themselves are opening themselves up to be misled. We may be taught incorrectly about the Bible, but it is our responsibility to read it for ourselves and ask God, through His Holy Spirit, to reveal His truth.

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