“You don’t seem like you’re fully invested in this…” he relayed, regarding a decision that needed to be made.
Tears stung the back of my eyes. I didn’t want to admit it: of course he was right, but not for the reason he thought.
I surveyed my heart. It wasn’t that I wasn’t fully invested in moving forward with his suggestion, but that I was afraid of failing. It was a fear that I had grappled with throughout my life, but in this situation it was particularly intense because I’d been here before. The circumstance and the people were different, but it was a new endeavor that I was considering and I didn’t want a repeat of the past experience.
I was afraid. I was afraid not just of failing, but I was afraid of being a failure.
As I sorted through this in my quiet time with the Lord, the Holy Spirit very gently showed me: I was not a failure. The situation from my past had not gone as I’d hoped, had not gone as I had planned, and had not gone as I had expected. From the outside perhaps it looked like a failure, but I personally was not a failure.
The Holy Spirit very gently whispered to my heart, “You are not a failure. That is a lie that you have believed from the enemy of your soul, who wants to stop you in the midst of your tracks of your calling. You are not a failure because God’s Word says you are an Overcomer. You are more than a conqueror. God’s truth promises that you are victorious in Christ Jesus. God promises that He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion. He will not let you fail. He does not consider you a failure.”
But what about the past? What about those situations that did not go as I had expected?
He gently reminded me, in the recesses of my heart, that it is the enemy who thwarts our progress. But what the enemy intends to harm us, God can and will use it for our good. Even in this, God turned around and used it for my good.
“But will you forgive?” he asked me. “Will you forgive those who hurt you and made you feel like a failure?”
“Yes,” I answered. I didn’t want a seed of bitterness or resentment to grow within me.
Then I sensed the harder question: “Will you forgive yourself? Because all this time you’ve blamed yourself for situations not going as you had hoped, deeming yourself a failure. Forgive yourself and recognize that the situation did not take God by surprise and He can use that even now for your good and for His glory. He is doing a new thing. Do not look to the past. You’re not going in that direction. Look forward to the new thing He is doing in you today. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear, for God is with you. God has plans for you. He is doing a new thing. His plans for you are good: they are to prosper you and not to harm you.”
There is a big difference between not being successful at something and being a failure. The enemy wants us to believe we are failures, but that’s not how God sees us. God will use even the difficult situations in life, those that don’t go how we expect or hope, for our good. We, as His children, are a work in progress. But at the very heart of everything, we are His children, created in His image. And He will continue shaping and molding us to be more like Him until the day we leave this earth.
Have you ever confused failing at something with being a failure? Will you turn that over to God and let Him redeem it for your good and for His glory?
Because of Him, #HopePrevails
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.