formation friday: you're not a failure.

It’s the end of Failure Week around here, the last post in this series. I know there’s so much ground we didn’t cover, but this is all I’ve got this round. Today, I wanted to bring back a Formation Friday related to failure (really, it’s Formation Saturday). After this summer blogging break, I am hoping to get back in the groove of more Formation Fridays because I could use them in my own life, a little extra love in the spiritual formation department.

There are a lot of things I don’t know in the world but I do know this:  You’re not a failure.

You’re not a failure.

You’re just not.

You might feel like one.

You might be sure you are one.

You might have all kinds of “evidence” that seems to support that.

You might hear those words and be saying, “yeah, right, you don’t know my situation.”

I get that.

But I’m telling you, you’re not a failure.

It’s true, you might have “failed” at all kinds of things–relationships, marriages, jobs, ministries, kid stuff, faith-as-you-once-knew-it, dreams–and a host of other situations that didn’t go the way you had hoped. They might have been colossal disasters.

But I know this: You’re not a failure.

What happens to so many of us is our identity gets wrapped up in what happened, what we did or didn’t do, how things turned out (or didn’t), how other people perceive us, what we lost, what was taken from us, what we broke, what we _____________ (you fill in the blank).

We then begin to wear a cloak of failure and it becomes our identity.

And often our negative identity becomes our comfort. It’s familiar. It’s known. We start to wear it well.

But I know this: You are not a failure. I am not a failure.

We are human beings trying to make it through the day as best we can.

We are flawed and beautiful men and women living life in a broken messy world.

We are flesh and blood and guts, not marble and stone and perfection.

I know for some of you, verses from the Bible can get all mucked up inside, but I think for Formation Friday it’s worth remembering some of the truths about us from God’s story and heart for us.

You’re not a failure.

You are loved (Ephesians 3:17-19).

You are always being made new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You are forgiven (Psalm 103:12).

You are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

You are a work in progress (Philippians 1:6).

You are free (Galatians 5:1).

You are not alone (Isaiah 43:1-4).

You get to start over each and every day (Lamentations 3:22-23).

And a truth from what we jokingly call the KIV (Kathy’s Inconsistent Version):

Who you are in your worst moment is not who you really are.

You are not your failure.

You are not your failure. 

Lastly, for those of you who like to process a little more, here’s a short little exercise to try to weave together some of the jumble in our head and heart and anchor ourselves. I did it, too, related to a really hard situation I am in right now at The Refuge that can feel like a failure. Just fill in whatever comes to mind.

Even though ___________, (whatever “failure” situation you might be–or have been–in) and it’s makes/made me feel like I am ______________________, (how you are feeling about yourself) through this situation I am learning ______________________, (what you are learning about yourself, life, faith, whatever is strengthening you). I know that no matter what God _________________________ (what are some truths about God you can stand on, no matter how simple or few) and I am ________________________ (what do you know to be true about yourself–good things only!).

Here’s mine:

Even though I am in the midst of a really difficult situation that isn’t anything I had hoped for, and it makes me feel shame and anger and fear, I am learning how to be resilient and more-patient-and-trusting-in-the-long-story-than-I’ve-truly-ever-been-before. I know that no matter what God is present and faithful and at work–healing, restoring, bringing forth something new. I am strong & I am weak, and that’s exactly where I need to be right now.

Dear friends, I am not a failure, you are not a failure.

See you back here next week for a few last posts and then I’m going to take a deep breath and much-needed pause until the fall.

Peace and hope to you this weekend, kathy


ps: If you are just landing here, the other 4 posts for Failure Week are below.


Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

One Comment

  • Kathy I am hungry for what you say! I believe the world is hungry for what you say. I hope you have a much needed break this summer. I end my job as minister of a congregation at the end of the month. I will be continuing my studies this summer with the Deep Coaching Institute. I am going to the International Enneagram Conference in July in Minneapolis. I am so excited about this. Have you ever attended? It happens once a year in the U.S.A. Hope you have a joy filled summer. I look forward to more of your blogs in the fall. If you ever want to check out my blog it is Roland Legge at WordPress.


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