When You Feel Like a Failure

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I’m dropping the ball at work lately.

My workload has increased significantly in recent months, and I’m starting to lose track of appointments and fall behind on deadlines. I’m concerned about my performance, and my body tends to mirror my emotions. Enter stress. Enter migraines. Enter insomnia.

I don’t like to fail. I have a pretty high opinion of myself, and historically, I’ve managed to achieve excellence in school and at work. Consequently, I’m feeling defeated. I’m feeling defensive. I’m making excuses for myself. Essentially, I’m facing my own ego.


During rehearsal at church on Wednesday, my worship pastor spoke about pride. He described humility as the ability to see yourself rightly–to have an accurate estimation of yourself. Viewing yourself correctly has two sides. On the one hand, you’re a sinner in need of mercy. On the other hand, you’re a child made in God’s image.

Holding both perspectives in tension enables you to live with both humility and confidence.


According to my worship pastor’s theory, perfectionism would be the opposite of humility. As a perfectionist, you implicitly assume that you could achieve perfection. That sounds a little like pride. At the same time, you beat yourself up constantly because you rarely meet your own unrealistically high standards. That breeds insecurity.

Humility, by contrast, requires you to acknowledge your own failings and then accept the unconditional delight of God.

You’re not as great as you think.

Neither does your identity depend on your performance. You can therefore recognize your weaknesses without losing your self-confidence. In my case, I’m not very efficient. I’m terrible at multitasking. It’s actually good for me to observe myself clearly.

Instead of pretending that I can handle a limitless workload, I can face my natural flaws without spiraling into self-loathing. I have a lot of growing to do in the areas of prioritization and organization. I might need help from bosses and coworkers. I also still have value.

If failure makes me honest, maybe I should fail more often.


The Reluctant Bride

Daniel Swanson Photography


4 Replies to “When You Feel Like a Failure”

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